Governor Andrew Cuomo did not allow commercial casino venues in New York to reopen, citing them as non-essential businesses.
Casino Is Not Needed for Survival, Said Gov. Cuomo
The commercial casinos in New York are not likely to reopen anytime soon. Earlier this week in a conference call Governor Andrew Cuomo did not give the go ahead to reopen the four commercial casino properties. As a main reason to keep the casinos closed, Governor Cuomo said that it’s due to the likelihood of lack of compliance, issue of density and the essential nature of the business.
With that in mind, some other ‘non-essential’ businesses such as malls and shopping venues have already reopened. When the Governor was questioned why those venues reopened and casinos remain closed he responded: “A shopping center – people need food, people need clothes, people need home goods.” He further added: “You don’t need a casino to maintain survival.”
Shut since March, Commercial Casinos in NY Remain Closed
The casinos in New York were shutdown back in March. This was an effort of the state officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Given that the commercial casinos did not receive the green light to reopen, the following venues remain shut:
- Del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County
- Rivers Casino in Schenectady
- Tioga Downs Casino Resort
- Resorts World Catskills
So far, the Governor hasn’t set a planned date when the above properties will be allowed to reopen. In contrast, the tribal casino properties reopened their doors back in June. Following strict health and safety protocols, the Oneida Indian Nation reopened the Yellow Brick Road, Point Place and Turning Stone casino properties.
The COVID-19 Impact
Although del Lago Resort and Casino prepared a post-COVID-19 safe operations plan back in July, the property remains with shut doors. The operator’s executive vice president and general manager, Lance Young, said last month that the plan for safe operations is in line with both state and federal guidelines. Reduced venue capacity is one of the proposed measures. Furthermore, the casino floor will see changes to ensure social distancing between players and employees.
All employees will be working with personal protective gear. “We’re ready to reopen when the data and science says that we can and we’ll continue to work with state officials,” said Young last month. He also expressed hope that the venue would reopen soon. But looking back at June, due to the temporary closure, the operator postponed and cancelled many entertainment events.
COVID-19 severely impacted the gaming industry in New York and statewide. Given that the four commercial properties remain closed, this means that the state has been missing out on tax revenue for the last few months. Although Del Lago employees have only been furlough, elsewhere in Las Vegas, both furloughs and layoffs were announced.