No quick reopening seen for casinos

Forget what the sign says. This worker in Atlantic City is cleaning up debris on New Hampshire Avenue.
Forget what the sign says. This worker in Atlantic City is cleaning up debris on New Hampshire Avenue. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: November 01, 2012

ATLANTIC CITY'S 12 casinos won't know until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest when they will reopen in the wake of being forced to shut down over the weekend by Hurricane Sandy.

"We certainly think it's prudent" to delay the decision to reopen, said Tony Rodio, chief exec for Tropicana Atlantic City and president of the Casino Association of New Jersey. "We feel the state has a lot more , so we felt it was prudent to take another 24 hours to reassess the situation."

Rodio's remarks followed a conference call with state gaming regulators.

Because of Sandy's scope, it remains to be seen what kind of business the city's already beleaguered gambling industry will do once the doors reopen.

"I think we have to be concerned about what the impact is going to be the next 30 to 60 days, what it will take for the to recover from the storm," said gaming industry analyst Steve Norton, who heads the consulting firm Norton Gaming LLC.

Norton said the most important issue is how much free time and money Atlantic City customers who live in such hard-hit locales as North Jersey and New York City will have to spend. He reasoned that casino gambling is probably not a priority for those whose homes have been damaged by a wind-blown tree or who have no electricity for an extended period.

As a result, he said, Sandy "will definitely have an impact beyond the days the casinos were actually closed."

Physical damage to the casinos was minimal, and their losses - an estimated $5 million a day combined - are less than the $45 million caused by Hurricane Irene in August 2011.

In Pennsylvania, SugarHouse in Philadelphia, Parx in Bensalem and Sands in Bethlehem were open Tuesday. Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester was closed at 4 p.m. Monday and had not reopened.

- Staff writer Barbara Laker

contributed to this report.


Contact Chuck Darrow at dararowc@phillynews.com or 215-313-3134. Follow him on Twitter @chuckdarrow. Read his blog at philly.com/Casinotes.

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