As Hurricane Sandy, or “Frankenstorm” as it is also being dubbed smashes into the continental United States’ east coast today, casinos all over the eastern seaboard are shutting up shop and gritting their teeth for the onslaught, like most other shops and businesses in the twelve states that could be affected by Sandy.
Sandy has already killed sixty people as it travelled from the Caribbean and hit New York City last night, with walls of water up to thirteen feet high reported in Manhattan. This is primarily due to the addition of unusual high tides and a full moon. Nothing could be scarier this Halloween.
Whilst New Yorkers are quite familiar and brave to coming to grips with anything and everything, many of the other states gamblers are unlikely to be unimpressed with closure of the casinos. The hurricane, which had the potential to become a massive “Superstorm”, has forced the hand of casinos across the eastern seaboard from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey ordered the evacuations of all New Jersey casinos earlier in the week, as a pre-emptive strike to minimize potential loss of life when the hurricane finally strikes, which many are predicting to be worse than the powerful Hurricane Irene that struck in 2011.
The closure of casinos across the country is very similar to earlier in the year, when Hurricane Ivan came in contact with the south eastern United States, prompting the closure of casinos in Louisiana and other southerly states. In the case of Ivan, no real damage was caused to the casinos and most were re-opened in days, one of which opened for the very first time after having its grand opening day pushed back and delayed by the oncoming hurricane.
Hurricane Sandy though is proving to be a much tougher customer. Airports, sub-way underground systems, public transports, shops, malls, sports games, the stock exchange and public parks are all closed under the orders of Mr. Christie in New Jersey as well as his counter-part Mr. Andrew Cuomo in New York.
The closure of the sports games might not seem obviously apparent as important to sports betting fans, but without the matches being played, no wagers can be placed. Whilst this again might not be of particular relevance to players inside the United States, where sports betting is by a large illegal [see → New Jersey - Ban on college games and sport leagues protests], it will affect the sports betting industries outside of the United States, particularly in Europe.
Hurricane Sandy is expected to pass through by Saturday at latest, although there is no way of knowing how much damage will be caused by then, with most of Manhattan already flooded and underwater. Whether or not the casinos and sports games resume is at this moment, a minimal priority for most people, with the survival of all of the citizens of the eastern seaboard states, naturally priority number one.