With the clocks set to turn ahead this weekend and with spring beginning March 20, New Jersey residents plan to return to Atlantic City, according to preliminary results released Monday from a new survey.
The survey was conducted by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University in Galloway. It was completed by 805 people who visited the Do AC website between the end of January and mid-February.
The results show that more than 70% percent said they plan to visit Atlantic City within the next six months. Among visitors who went when New Jersey casinos reopened in July, 82% said they also planned to visit again within the next six months.
“Those who have visited since the casinos reopened say they were satisfied with the safety precautions in place,” Phil Kening, a Stockton faculty member and the lead researcher, said in a news release.
The current COVID-19 pandemic remains the primary reason previous visitors have not yet returned, survey results showed.
Of the respondents, 42% said they had visited Atlantic City at least once since they reopened in July. The remaining respondents cited COVID-19 as the reason they did not. Of those that did visit, almost 80% said they were either “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the safety precautions in place while dining, gambling, or walking on the Boardwalk.
“The casinos and other dining and entertainment venues have done a good job implementing COVID-19 safety measures while also still providing the experiences visitors expect when they come to Atlantic City,” Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of LIGHT, said in the release. “Even as restrictions are gradually lifted, and more people get a vaccine, the venues will still have to demonstrate that they are taking all necessary precautions to make visitors feel welcomed and safe.”
Casinos in Atlantic City were closed on March 16, 2020, as part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 executive order. They reopened July 2, but with capacity restrictions in place.