Casinos in New York will reopen today with limited capacity, social distancing and sanitizing measures in place -- just in time for the start of the professional football season.
Commercial gambling halls have been closed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, and casino workers have in recent rallied for a reopening as federal unemployment benefits were pared back.
Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, meanwhile, is reopening today, along with its sports book with safety measures in place.
“The Rivers team has been working hand-in-hand with the state to make all the changes necessary to reopen, and with our “Sure Bet Sanitized” program we will meet or exceed all requirements to provide a safe and healthy entertainment environment,” said Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady General Manager, Justin Moore.
“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.”
The reopening in New York coincides with the start of the NFL season on Thursday. Sports gambling is allowed only within New York casinos and efforts to legalize mobile wagering have so far stalled in the state Legislature.
The American Gaming Association on Wednesday said about 13% of American adults plan to bet on an NFL game this season even as enthusiasm in general from fans has declined.
“The NFL traditionally drives a significant amount of action from sports bettors, and this year appears to be no different,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “While we’ve known for a long time that bettors are more engaged fans—particularly when it comes to football—continuing to drive them to the legal market is essential for protecting consumers and the integrity of the games they wager on.”