Transcript for Atlantic City casino bets big on safety during pandemic
stepping up in the middle of a pandemic to take an atlantic City institution into the future. The first black casino president now running the borgata and the safety precautions transformed. Here's ABC's Deborah Roberts. Reporter: Once billed as America's playground, Atlantic City, New Jersey, has always been one of the nation's high-stakes hot spots. Guests from around the world come to be dazzled by its expensive hotels and vast casino landscape. But the pandemic has dealt a blow to casinos all across the country. Their success often piggybacking on family vacations which have mostly halted, but no other gaming district has been hit with tougher covid-19 restrictions than Atlantic City. Though New Jersey casinos got the greenlight to reopen in early July, one world renowned hotel and casino remained closed. I can't stress enough -- this is a building, this is a casino, we offer all of the amenities that any other gaming establishment would offer. Reporter: During the height of the pandemic in mid-may, the borgata welcomed Melanie Johnson, the first black woman president of any Atlantic City hotel. Being the first black woman president at borgata, I'm not coming in cold Turkey like this is my first professional job as leader of the casino. Reporter: Johnson left Maryland to become the casino's sole occupant. The state only allowing 25% of staff and guests at any given time. She walked into her new role knowing that she would have to make tough decisions early on, furloughing some of her staff. Having to furlough employees that's extremely hard. Because it's outside of everybody's control. It's the worst thing that you can possibly do. Reporter: The borgata was the lasted hotel to reopen in Atlantic City, taking precautions to unveil the newest amenities in front of the house. Handwashing stations on the dividers between blackjack players, social distancing between slot machines and temperature checks stations at every entrance, to name a few. Every employee and every guest has to enter and have their temperature checked. We have our thermal screening. Reporter: Even the swag bag has been transformed. The borgata swag bag. I.e. An amenity bag. We're providing these to our guests upon check-in at the hotel and it's always safety first. Reporter: The borgata made changes to its world-classing dining, too. We have to accept it and we have to just make those changes. No food or drinks on the casino floor and only outdoor dining and drinking. So far the new restrictions haven't stopped guests from taking a gamble on the outdoor -- adult playground. My barometer is the borgata and the borgata is the best casino in Atlantic City. I'm a slot player and this is our second home. This is our home away from home. We're glad to be back. I think it's the safest place to be right now during these trying times we're having. Reporter: Johnson admits the new role doesn't come without its challenges. You can't just automatically think that you're going to walk into a new environment and you're going to be well received because of a title. I'm a firm believer in coming in, talking the talk, walking the walk and earning respect. I do feel like everyone's Reporter: She decided to hedge her bet on the borgata the casino boosted two big wins. Of $50,000 and $200,000. The borgata has always have the opportunity to win. It starts with the staff, the physical facility, it starts with how we treat our guests, that's a winning combination. Borgata will win big. Our thanks to deb Roberts for that report.
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