Casinos in Atlantic City, a gambling hot spot, saw an 80 percent drop in profits last year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the country, The Associated Press reports.
The AP, citing statistics shared by New Jersey gambling regulators, reported that out of nine casinos in Atlantic City, seven made small profit margins despite COVID-19 regulations.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) ordered the closure of all Atlantic City casinos from March to July 2020, when they were ordered to reopen with no more than 25 percent capacity.
BREAKING: On Thursday, July 2nd:— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 22, 2020
Casinos may reopen – operating at 25% capacity
️Indoor dining may resume – limited at first to 25% capacity
Additional health and safety guidance will be released within the next several days. pic.twitter.com/b4jY2fR3sp
The restrictions resulted in a collective $117.5 million in gross operating profits for the year among all city casinos, down from almost $594 million the year prior, the AP reports.
"Atlantic City and its casinos endured their most challenging year in history," James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, told the outlet.
He added, "Even after being allowed to reopen in July, the casinos’ earnings were limited by travel restrictions, limited amenities, and canceled entertainment."
Plousis noted that tourists should have "every confidence" in safely visiting Atlantic City this summer, as the casinos have managed to find a way to operate in a manner that aligns with COVID-19 safety guidance.
"Through responsible management, the casinos proved that in-person gaming could happen safely," he said.
COVID-19 restrictions have begun to lessen around the country as vaccination efforts ramp up, despite surges in certain states, including New Jersey.