Non-Indian Casinos in New York State Struggle Even After Reopening Following Coronavirus Lockdown

Only a month following their reopening, casinos in the state of New York have reported varying degrees of success in their recovery after the six-month lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady reported that for the first four full weeks of operation, its gross gaming revenue experienced a 29% decline in comparison to the same period a year earlier. Furthermore, the GGR decline at the three other non-Indian casinos in the state amounted to 25% at Resorts World Catskills, 34% at Tioga Downs and 46% at Del Lago Resort & Casino.

The beginning of September also saw the venues that offer video gambling services being allowed to resume operation. These facilities’ ability to generate revenue changed, as they have been forced to reduce their capacity and operating hours in order to guarantee that all safety and social distancing protocols would be in place for its patrons.

In addition, casino players have been fewer in number because of the public health crisis. As the General Manager of the Rivers casino, Justin Moore revealed, the numbers vary because the casino workers are doing their best to increase the number of table games and slot machines available in the gambling venues. However, as of October 15th, 36% of the slot machines, which have so far been the key source of revenue of the facility, were not operational.

According to reports, there was a 30% decline in the net revenue of the Saratoga Casino Hotel in comparison to the one generated in the same period in 2019.

New York Gambling Venues Follow Strict Social Distancing and Hygiene Protocols

Despite gambling venues in the state of New York have been trying to reconfigure their casino floors by placing additional plexiglass shields between slot machines and gaming tables, they are required to operate at a lower capacity, which is currently one-fourth of their normal capacity. As mentioned above, the coronavirus pandemic has made a large number of customers unwilling to visit land-based casinos.

Mr. Moore explained that revenue numbers were still good, especially considering the circumstances, with them being in the range that had been expected by the management.

A lot of things have changed at the Rivers Casino in comparison to the pre-coronavirus period, with not only the capacity of the place having been shrunk, but the range of services as well. In addition, hygiene at the place has also been strictly monitored by state inspectors.

The situation has been pretty similar at the Saratoga Casino Hotel, which also resumed operations but under stricter rules, at a lower capacity and with less revenue being generated. The venue’s General Manager Alex Tucker said in an e-mail that the Saratoga Casino Hotel had been open for five weeks and, for the time being, the management of the venue had been satisfied with how the reopening had gone.

As it became clear, the numbers have not made it to the pre-coronavirus expectations, but the casino’s management is aware of the fact that the recovery will take some time. The casino is to continue to adapt to the “new normal” and it is constantly making adjustments on a daily basis that are aimed at improving the customers’ experience considering the restrictions.

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