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Pandemic lessons for casinos: 'Do you need a buffet?'

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Caesars in Atlantic City, N.J. (FOX 5 NY File Photo) ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The COVID-19 pandemic forced most U.S.

casinos to close for months, causing payrolls, revenue and earnings to tumble.But the forced shutdowns and highly regulated recoveries also taught the industry some useful lessons that will endure even after the pandemic is a distant memory, panelists at a major casino conference said Thursday.Speaking at the East Coast Gaming Congress, executives from several major regional gambling companies and one of the world's largest said the changes they were forced to make due to the pandemic had some benefits."It forced us and gave us the ability to say to our guests that things that used to be viewed as an entitlement, maybe they don't need them as much as they thought they did," said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International. "Do you need a buffet?

Should you have a buffet?"The conference was held in the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City, whose buffet is still operating.

Some of Hard Rock's casinos in other states, including Florida, offer buffets while others do not. States have differing rules and health guidance that the company follows, Allen said.David Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Companies, which operates casinos in Pennsylvania, Florida and Maryland, said the pandemic offered his business an opportunity "to tighten the ship.""We have not gone back to buffets," he said. "It certainly wasn't fun.

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