Upon Much Pressure, New York Casinos Set to Reopen September 9th

  • All other “non-Native American casinos” can reopen for business as of September 9th
  • Strict NY state guidelines and procedures will be enforced for all guests and customers
  • Modifications at all state casinos will be created to ensure guest safety

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After much pressure from both New York residents and laid-off workers, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that all casinos will reopen in the state beginning on September 9th.

Under strict terms, the casinos will be limited to 25 percent capacity, and table games will not be allowed unless physical barriers are installed between patrons. Slot machines will be open, but players must be spaced at a minimum of six feet apart. Casinos will only be allowed to open if they install enhanced air-filtration systems. Masks and social distancing will be required as well, Cuomo and New York Budget Director Robert Mujica said.

The State Gaming Commission will have jurisdiction over enforcing the health and safety guidelines, as well as New York State Police.

Rivers Casino in Schenectady Will Open Soon

Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady issued a statement immediately following Cuomo’s announcement and said it will announce its reopening date soon. Again, the announcement allows the opportunity for casinos to open as of the initial September 9th date.

According to a statement issued by the Rivers Casino & Resort, an extensive list of property-wide modifications and safety precautions, introduced to help protect all team members will also be announced prior to reopening and published on the casino’s website.

Rivers General Manager Justin Moore also noted:

The Rivers team has been working hand-in-hand with the state to make all the changes necessary to reopen and we will meet, or exceed, all requirements to provide a safe and healthy entertainment environment. The health and well-being of our team members, guests and the community is our highest priority. We’re eagerly looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Rivers.

Resorts World in Queens Will Open on September 9th

Another eagerly anticipated opening scheduled on time September 9th is for Resorts World in Queens, NY. Operated by Genting, it is the state’s largest casino.

Bob DeSalvio, president of Genting Americas East, said in a statement:

We have implemented a plan to seamlessly integrate the unmatched experiences in excitement, entertainment, and luxury that guests have come to expect, with the more stringent health protocols that are needed to operate safely.

Guests will also have their temperatures checked upon entering the Resorts World Casino. Genting, which also runs Resorts World Catskills, will have at least 200 hand sanitizer stations throughout Resorts World, which does not recirculate air and has an air filtration system that exceeds the state standards.

The other three “non-Native American” run casinos have not formally announced their reopening date although sometime in September is quite likely.

The New York Casino Controversy

The shutdown continued even as New York’s Indian casinos and nearby states’ non-Indian casinos reopened. It cost the state and local governments millions of dollars in tax revenue and put thousands of suffering employees on extended furlough.

Native American-run casinos, which were not constrained to the state’s COVID-19 shutdowns, have been open in New York for months after temporarily shutting down in March, April, and May when the coronavirus was peaking in New York. They include the Seneca Nation’s casinos in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, as well as the Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, Oneida County. Located on sovereign land, they are not legally bound to the same legislative gaming rules.

Governor Cuomo had been reluctant to reopen all casinos, noting the balance he must strike between essential economic activity and the health of the public. He continued to note the state’s phased reopening would be contingent on people following health and safety guidelines. He also faced ongoing heat staring at other U.S. states reopening their casinos during the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

Facing detractors, he continued to say “Eat too much cheesecake, and the scale is going to say your weight went up. There is no surprise here. There’s no complicated formula.”

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