The opening comes even though New Jersey has decided to postpone the reopening of indoor dining.

By Alison Fox
July 02, 2020

Atlantic City casinos officially opened their doors on Thursday after a monthslong pause even as the state has paused the reopening of indoor dining.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City opened at 6 a.m. on July 2, one of the first casinos on the boardwalk to reopen, the casino shared with Travel + Leisure. In line with New Jersey’s requirement, the casino required masks be worn. The Hard Rock also took the temperatures of all guests, placed more than 200 hand sanitizer dispensers around the casino, and bought more than 1,000 air filters for common areas.

The Tropicana AC also reopened on Thursday, implementing their safety plan, which limits the number of people who can sit at each table game.

Bally’s, Caesars, and Harrah’s Resort, which are all part of Caesars Entertainment, planned to reopen a day later on July 3, the company told T+L.

“The well-being of our team members and guests is important to us, and we are focused on enhancing our health and safety protocols to provide an enjoyable guest experience that emphasizes social distancing and cleanliness,” Ron Baumann, the regional president for Caesars Entertainment, Atlantic City region, said in a statement.

Atlantic City
Credit: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Last month, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said casinos along the waterfront city could reopen, but with a cap of 25 percent capacity. Initially, the opening date was aligned with the return of indoor dining, but it has been since postponed.

“There's an enormous amount of protocols being put in place, including social distancing, sanitization, hygienic barriers... But the great thing about casinos, they're already the most closely monitored entities in our state, if not our country,” Murphy told reporters during a news conference on Wednesday ahead of the reopening. “We have got to say this unequivocally, people have to have face coverings indoors. You just have to have them. You won't be let in and if you don't have it on when you're in, you're going to be asked to leave.”

Not all hotels, however, chose to open right away. While the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa originally planned to reopen on July 6, the hotel decided to postpone that when Murphy postponed indoor dining.

“We respect the Governor’s decision to postpone the reopening of indoor dining in New Jersey to protect the public. Given this decision, our property… will remain closed,” the hotel said in a statement. “Our guests expect a special experience when they come to our property and if we cannot provide that level of hospitality, we feel it best that we remain closed until such time that the Governor lets us know it is safe to offer food and beverage.”

The reopening of casinos in Atlantic City follows the resumption of gambling in Las Vegas last month. Casinos in Nevada were first allowed to reopen on June 4 with safety measures in place, but masks not required. On June 17, the Nevada Gaming Control Board updated its health policies to require guests to wear masks when playing table games if there wasn’t a barrier separating players and dealers.

New Jersey allowed outdoor amusement parks, playgrounds, museums, and boardwalk arcades to reopen.