Live poker returns to New Jersey next week as Atlantic City’s largest poker room reopens Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 10 a.m.
According to a Press of Atlantic City report, Borgata will reopen its 77-table poker room with several restrictions in place to ensure a safe environment.
“We are happy to welcome back our loyal players as we reopen Atlantic City’s market-leading East Coast poker destination,” president and COO of Borgata Melanie Johnson told the daily newspaper.
Only 30 of the 77 tables will be in use and games will be spread seven-handed. Plexiglass dividers between players have become somewhat of the standard in live poker in the wake of COVID-19 and will be used in Borgata’s room as well. Only cash games will be offered at the outset of the reopening.
Food will not be allowed inside the room, but beverage service will be offered. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the room and spectators will not be permitted. Masks will be required as they are in all areas of the casino.
Borgata is the highest-grossing casino in Atlantic City and is home to one of the largest poker rooms in the country. It will be the first of the five poker rooms in the city to reopen.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy forced his state’s casinos to shutter in mid-March, as did the rest of the country in response to the spread of coronavirus. But New Jersey was one of the most cautious states in the country when it came to reopening.
Murphy allowed brick-and-mortar casinos to reopen July 2 but announced that indoor dining and drinking would not be permitted just a few days before the reopening. The ban caused Borgata to delay its opening until later in the month after it had time to adjust its business plan.
The delayed timeline also caused the New Jersey poker market to be one of the last to reopen. Massachusetts and New York still have not resumed live poker in its commercial casinos, but nearly every other state has allowed the game to resume. In California, regulators allowed poker to resume outside to help curb the spread of the virus.