Of those who've visited Atlantic City since casinos reopened to the public in early July, more than three-quarters say they plan to do it again before the end of summer 2021, according to a survey by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University.

Phil Kening, a Stockton instructor and lead researcher on the project, said the findings offer "pretty good vibes" for Atlantic City tourism during the upcoming warmer months.

In the survey of 805 people, conducted between the end of January and mid-February, about 46% of respondents said they intend to visit Atlantic City "within three months." An additional 26% said they'll visit the resort city within six months.

Forty-two percent of the respondents said they had visited Atlantic City at least once since casinos reopened with restrictions on July 2.

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"The 58% who didn't, overwhelmingly the reason was the pandemic — no surprise," Kening said.

Those who did visit were generally pleased with the safety precautions in place while they were dining, gambling or walking the boardwalk, according to the survey. Nearly 80% said they were "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied" with safety measures related to COVID-19.

"Of those who have visited, 82% say they'll visit within the next six months," Kening added.

Indoor restaurants and casinos in New Jersey are permitted to operate 35% capacity. Spacing is required between unrelated guests at gaming tables, and barriers are required between game operators and guests.

"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," said Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of LIGHT. "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."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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