American Gaming Group and Saratoga Harness Racing Terminate Wildwood Casino Acquisition Due to COVID-19
With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down casinos across the U.S., Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. and American Gaming Group, LLC, the owner of Wildwood Casino, decided to terminate the previously announced acquisition of Wildwood Casino. Both parties deemed the termination necessary because of the current economic impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis.
"At this time, we believe it's in the best interest of both companies, and our respective casinos, to cancel the deal so we can focus on doing what's best for our casinos and our players," Joe Canfora, the owner of Wildwood Casino, said. "At Wildwood, we're taking this time to develop and implement an entire health and safety strategy that goes above and beyond state and local guidelines to better protect our players and provide a comfortable, safe environment for gaming."
Among the new health and safety practices, Wildwood will have on-demand cleaning crews moving throughout the casino to clean surfaces as needed and as requested by players. The casino will also be reducing its operating hours to allow for extended, deep cleaning every night. Additionally, management is looking into UV light technologies for potential air filtration and other newly discovered, best practices for protecting patrons from the virus.
"This is all about the safety and security of our players and our employees," Wildwood Casino's Assistant General Manager Matt Andrighetti said. In mid-April, Wildwood distributed a digital survey to their player database asking for thoughts and feelings regarding the current pandemic and what will be important when returning to the casino. Close to 1400 players participated in the survey.
"We received a lot of great input from our players, and now, we're using their feedback to create a comprehensive health and safety plan that surpasses the county and state, mandatory precautions," Andrighetti said. Also, as the newest casino building in Cripple Creek, Wildwood features high ceilings and a single-level gaming floor to offer players a more spacious, less cramped environment, he said.
Along with extensively preparing for the casino's reopening, Wildwood has multiple other initiatives that are pushing forward despite the coronavirus pandemic. Construction for Wildwood's 104-room, $14-million hotel has continued throughout the crisis and will continue, Andrighetti said. Wildwood's sports betting will be launching soon. And, Wildwood is rebranding their in-casino restaurant, Joe's Diner, to feature a new theme, design and menu to cater to players and provide great seating for Wildwood's sports betting players.