Broadway shows went dark, the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons, and baseball’s opening day was pushed back at least two weeks.
But on Saturday you could take a virtual roll of the dice at Jake’s 58 in Islandia.
The Suffolk OTB 1,000-machine video lottery casino was open for business, despite Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s directive Thursday ordering that businesses and gatherings of 500 or more people shut down for 30 days because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The casino remained open Saturday, after the directive took effect at 5 p.m. Friday.
Capacity on the gaming floor has been restricted to no more than 500 people, said Glen A. White, spokesman for Jake’s 58 parent company Delaware North. He said the casino bolstered cleaning efforts and that staff were asked to stay home if they felt ill. Hand sanitation dispensers were added throughout the casino.
The casino closed every other gaming machine to increase social distancing and eliminated buffets, White said. The restaurant was limited to no more than 75 guests, reduced from its normal capacity of 150 people.
The hotel, which is separate from the casino, remains open, White said.
“We are evaluating the situation on an ongoing basis and coordinating closely with the New York State Gaming Commission,” White wrote in an email. “We are committed to take all appropriate measures to help ensure guest and employee safety, which is our highest priority.”
Jon Schneider, spokesman for Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., referred questions to Delaware North.
During a news conference Friday, Cuomo said state officials were trying to determine how gaming facilities fit into the state ban on large gatherings. His order Thursday said businesses with seating capacity under 500 should cut capacity by 50%.
“That is something we’re talking about today because they’re very large. We did the 500 capacity,” Cuomo told reporters. “We need a rule for a super mass environment, right. We said 50% occupancy. But you have casinos that have an occupancy of 20,000 people. So, that’s something we’re talking about today.”
Jake’s 58 has been among the most profitable VLT casinos in the state since it opened in February 2017. Last month it pulled in $346.7 million — its highest gross in the past 12 months.
Parking lots at Jake’s 58 appeared to be full Friday afternoon.
Suffolk OTB President Phil Nolan told Newsday’s Lane Fuller that business was down about 30% early Friday afternoon.
“If we’re told to close, we will close,” Nolan said. “But right now, we don’t have clear guidance.”