Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey has issued a new executive order suspending curfew for entertainment venues, including casinos, and raising capacity to 35%.
Entertainment Businesses Get a Break with New Executive Order
New Jersey is preparing for Super Bowl weekend with Gov. Phil Murphy giving a go-ahead of boosting bars and restaurants capacity to 35% from 20%. Through an executive order, the governor is also lifting the 10 pm curfew which previously limited the hours of operations for such establishments, including entertainment venues as casinos.
According to Gov. Murphy, the healthcare system will be able to cope with current infection rates, and the state doesn’t expect any new surges in infections. The governor said that the current increase in capacity would not add to the stress health workers experience treating COVID-19 patients.
Gov. Murphy has reportedly discussed the measure with the Atlantic County Board of Commissioners first, which had approached him asking to lift the restrictions further so that business may begin recovering in some capacity.
Many establishments, including Atlantic City casinos and sportsbooks have worried that restrictions during Super Bowl LV would lead to lower overall handle. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), sportsbooks are right to expect a lower handle.
Then again, occupancy shouldn’t be an issue, as Massachusetts recently lifted restrictions and explained that the 25% occupancy limit is not an issue as casinos are seldom busier than the 25% which have become the norm.
Digital Betting on Super Bowl to Increase as Retail Crumbles
With this said, far more important to casinos, for example, is the lifting of the curfew that has completely suspended businesses during what is the arguably busiest hours for these establishments.
Meanwhile, AGA has confirmed that one-third of all wagers on the Super Bowl will come from mobile devices. Or, more accurately, some 7.6 million Americans – out of expected 23.2 million – will be betting remotely.
According to BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott digital betting will lead the way as retail is falling, down 61% from 2020 according to early AGA projections. New Jersey remains one of the hottest spots for wagering, though.
The total betting handle published by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement amounted to $6 billion, and the Garden State’s results continued to climb up in the last quarter of 2020.
The Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the executive order as a way to start returning back to normality.