Update: 11:03 AM, Sept. 9: Rivers Casino Wednesday morning announced it will reopen to the public Wednesday and will do so at 6 p.m.
The Rivers Sportsbook will reopen then, as well as the slots. Table games won’t yet be available, but will be as soon as possible, officials said. The new daily hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Watch for more information later Wednesday.
Wednesday morning’s story, published prior to Rivers’ announcement:
SARATOGA SPRINGS — One of the Capital Region’s gambling halls will open Wednesday, one will not.
Non-Indian casinos statewide have been shut down since March 15 as a COVID-19 preventative measure. The state allowed them to reopen starting Sept. 9 if they take extensive precautions and follow a long list of restrictions and recommendations, perhaps the strictest of which is a 25 percent limit on capacity.
Saratoga Casino Hotel said Tuesday it will reopen at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Rivers Casino & Resort said it will not reopen Wednesday but hopes to reopen very soon, after details of its reopening plan are worked out with state regulators.
New York’s Indian casinos long since reopened, and non-Indian casinos in neighboring states are open, leaving New York’s non-Indian casinos and video slot facilities the laggards.
New York’s four casinos are a mixed bag. Rivers won’t be open Wednesday and del Lago Resort & Casino apparently won’t either. Tioga Downs will be holding a soft reopening with only partial operation while Resorts World Catskills will restart most operations Wednesday.
The casino shutdown has put 5,000 people out of work and cost local and state governments millions of dollars in gaming tax revenue.
Employees held public rallies in August to encourage the state to allow the casinos to reopen. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday they’d be allowed to reopen under the right conditions.
Restrictions include the now-universal precautions (masks and hand sanitizer) as well as casino-specific rules such as dealing blackjack cards face-up to reduce the number of times they must be touched.
Some of the rules would appear to be fairly labor- or time intensive, such as setting aside every chip for disinfection each time a player loses them or cashes them in.
Saratoga Casino Hotel said in a news release Tuesday that it has been preparing to reopen for several months.
“We’re ready,” General Manager Alex Tucker said. “We’ve been waiting and preparing for this day for a long time. We’re happy to have more team members back to work and be able to open our doors to our guests. We’re confident that our plan will allow us to deliver the fun and entertaining experience our guests have come to expect in a safe environment.”
Saratoga will be open 2-10 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily starting Thursday. Certain amenities such as cocktail, buffet and self-service beverage service will not be available. Others, including the hotel, restaurant and deli, already have reopened.