Right now, the discussion around COVID-19 summons up more questions than answers. The New Jersey sports betting market is still reeling from the suspension or cancellation of most sporting events.
The situation is fluid and there are new headlines with every refresh of your Twitter feed. To help keep you informed, we have reached out to Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey racetracks for comment on their operating status and what measures they are taking to keep you safe.
Currently, all nine AC casinos plus NJ racetracks are following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines which include the following measures:
- Washing hands frequently
- Heightened cleaning practices
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Requiring employees to stay home when sick
We will be updating this article as information comes in. The updates are timed based on when we find them, not when they were issued. Here is what we know right now.
New Jersey, AC Casinos & NJ Racetracks response to COVID-19
March 16 updates
8 p.m. – NJ racetracks are closed.
Meadowlands released a statement that it is closing along with AC casinos.
“Based on the new CDC guidelines limiting public gatherings of 50 or more to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners Bayonne will be closing. The health and safety of our employees, horsemen, patrons and community are our top priority. Meadowlands Racetrack will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when possible.’’
Monmouth Park is not scheduled to open for its season until May.
4:45 p.m. – Caesars Entertainment’s Atlantic City casinos released a statement:
“Today, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an emergency order to close all New Jersey casinos to the public indefinitely, due to the serious public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, Caesars Entertainment’s Atlantic City casinos – Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Bally’s – will be temporarily closed effective at 8 PM tonight, Monday, March 16, 2020.
To be clear, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at any of our Atlantic City resorts to date. However, for the health and safety of our team members and guests, the casino will close to the public beginning tonight.
This decision is a precautionary measure only, made to ensure we are in compliance with local rules and regulations.
Please know that we have taken every step and precaution to promote the health and well-being of our guests and team members, and will continue to do so. We’ve implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols throughout our facilities, based upon recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control. More information on those protocols is available here.
We are currently working with hotel guests at our resorts to ensure they can rearrange their travel itineraries. All hotel reservations will be cancelled from now through Thursday, April 2, 2020. Any pre-payments will be refunded.
During the closure, Caesars will be paying two weeks of pay to all team members and benefits will not be interrupted.
We will also be working to donate food items from our restaurants during this time to The Community Food Bank to help support others in need throughout South Jersey.
Caesars is closely monitoring this evolving situation and will work with local officials to establish a reopening date as soon as it is appropriate to do so. We look forward to welcoming back team members and guests soon.”
10:15 a.m. – AC casinos set to close at 8 p.m.
According to David Danzis of the Press of Atlantic City, Atlantic City casinos will close this evening.
More details will be coming throughout the day. Keep it here.
March 15 updates
6:35 p.m. – DGE issues pending wagers guidance
Since the shuttering of most of the sports world, the Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has been fielding inquiries about how to handle pending wagers. The recently issued guidance to operators on the subject.
The DGE asks operators to inform customers of their options via email if bets were placed on a mobile sports betting app in NJ and via letter if made at a retail location.
Here are DGE’s guidelines for NJ sportsbooks:
1. If a wager has mathematically won or lost but the season/event has not been completed, you should grade the bet.
2. All single-game wagers on events that have been canceled can be voided pursuant to your house rules.
3. For single-game wagers on events that have been postponed or futures bets on leagues that have temporarily suspended their season, a sportsbook can choose to void the wager(s) if house rules permit it. If house rules do not permit voiding wagers on postponed events, operators shall wait 30 days to ascertain whether the event will be rescheduled and the Division will provide further guidance at the expiration of the 30 days.
4. For all parlays, if an open leg is canceled and your house rules are silent on the treatment of this situation, you should pay out the parlay at the adjusted odds when the open event(s) are removed.
March 14 updates
10:30 p.m. – First New Jersey COVID-19 citywide quarantine
Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin called for a citywide quarantine in Teaneck. The city located in Bergen County is home to 40,000 people. The action comes as the town records 18 cases of COVID-19.
“They should stay home,” said Hameeduddin.
“When I say stay home that doesn’t mean go out to lunch with your friends across the street. That means no play dates, that means your nuclear family stays with your nuclear family. I’m not visiting my sister, I’m not visiting my parents. That is the best way to stop the spread of this.”
12:20 p.m. – Will Atlantic City casinos close?
Former Atlantic City Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) Jim Kennedy calls for the closure of AC Casinos.
“It’s time to close AC Casinos down until at least Disneyland and major league sports venues reopen. The nations Coronavirus strategy to use crowd dispersion to reduce spread.”
On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy recommended the cancellation of all public events with 250 people or more. However, the state is not recommending closing casinos.
March 13 updates
8:30 p.m. – William Hill Sportsbook
5:25 p.m. – Harrah’s Atlantic City
WSOP.com released the following statement:
“Due to the recent developments with the COVID-19 pandemic, the WSOP Circuit, both domestic and international, have made alterations to events after consultation with the host properties.”
As a result, the current WSOP Circuit stop at Harrah’s Atlantic City has been suspended. The event, originally scheduled for March 5-16, will resume sometime in the future.
4:45 p.m. – Borgata Atlantic City
Borgata Atlantic City released the following statement:
“Borgata will adhere to the guidelines of local, state and national authorities, and is proactively communicating with our employees on the guidance from the CDC regarding prevention.
“We have enhanced our cleaning protocols that include placing additional hand sanitizer dispensing stations in high-traffic areas, reinforcing proactive cleaning and increasing the frequency of disinfection procedures. We continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines and are closely monitoring for updates.”
Additionally, under the direction of Gov. Phil Murphy, Borgata has modified operating hours for several venues and temporarily closed:
- Borgata Comedy Club
- Gypsy Bar
- Moneyline Bar & Book
- Premier Nightclub
Tickets for canceled events will be refunded.
1:25 p.m. – Caesars Atlantic City
COVID-19 concerns are responsible for the rescheduling of the 98 Degrees show at the Circus Maximus Theater at Caesars Atlantic City scheduled to July 11, 2020.
1:15 p.m. – SugarHouse Sportsbook New Jersey
SugarHouse Sportsbook released the following statement:
“It is is a highly unusual time in sports history due to the suspension or cancellation of so many US and global sporting events.
“We have, or will, refund bets made on any games/events that will not be played due to event cancellation. For example, canceled events, like the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, will have all open bets refunded. Any bets that are made on games that are not played within 72 hours of the originally scheduled time will also be refunded.
“When it comes to future bets on suspended leagues, we are keeping these bets open until more information is made available by the leagues.”
1 p.m. – Harrah’s Atlantic City
Harrah’s Atlantic City released the following message to its guests in response to recommendations made by the NJ Governor’s Office:
- The Pool After Dark nightclub will be closed today through Wednesday, March 25th. All pre-purchased tickets will be automatically refunded at the point of purchase. The Pool will continue remain open during the day from 8am to 6 p.m. daily as a resort amenity for our guests.
- The Blood, Sweat, & Tears performance at The Concert Venue will be postponed. More information will be forthcoming.
The health and well-being of our customers and team members are of utmost importance. Please continue to follow us on social media for the latest updates.
12:30 p.m. – Borgata Atlantic City
Borgata Atlantic City released the following tweet in response to a customer’s question:
11:10 a.m. – Tropicana
Styx is postponing its performance at Tropicana Atlantic City on March 20. The performance will be rescheduled. Ticket holders can opt to attend the new performance or request a refund through Ticketmaster.
10:45 a.m. – Hard Rock
Hard Rock Atlantic City is suspending all entertainment until April 15. The suspension includes the following venues:
- Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena
- Sound Waves
- Howie Mandel’s Comedy Club
- DAER Nightclub
Adam Sandler, one of the canceled events, tweeted about the postponement.
“Our highest priority is our commitment to ensure the safety and security of our guests, team members and community is paramount,” said Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
“Due to national concerns over the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus, Hard Rock Atlantic City has made a decision to suspend entertainment until mid-April in an abundance of caution.”
Ticket holders should hold onto their tickets as new dates will be announced. Refunds will be available if the event is permanently canceled or if the ticket holder is unable to attend the rescheduled show.
Additionally, Hard Rock Atlantic City is continuing its commitment to intensive cleaning of the complex, with special attention paid to high-touch services.