Don’t look for a surge in customers when Atlantic City’s casinos reopen.

Based on my admittedly less-than-scientific survey of 100+ slot machine and table game players, only about 10% plan to return immediately. Most others will be a bit more cautious.

“I’m ready to head back to the casinos, but I plan to wait a few weeks after the re-openings so I can gauge whether it’s safe,” one person told me. “I’m more concerned about cruise ships and airlines than casinos.”

“Depending on the promotion the casino is offering, I’ll definitely be going to pick up freeplay, good gifts, and use my comps,” wrote another. “I don’t think (the casinos) will be very busy.”

“I’ll be playing at night during the week, when the casinos are typically empty,” another admitted.

Others were even more leery.

“I think I’ll find another way to entertain myself for the next few months. I’m just afraid to head back into the casinos until I’m sure it’s OK.”

More specifically, another responded, “Until proven otherwise — cards and chips may be transmission vectors and get handled by way too many people. I’ll avoid table games.”

Added a slot player, “I want to know if they will be shutting off every other machine for social distancing, and if my preferred machines are operating.”

Several people expressed a variation of this view: “To be very honest, I’m not sure how I feel. I used to come to Atlantic City most weekends. I miss the people more than gambling.”

“The longer we stay away, the harder it will be to get people back,” another added.

Part of keeping games fresh and players interested is tweaking successful slot machines and …

Still others were concerned about their player loyalty program tier status and accumulated slot dollars/cashback and comps.

“Before I return I want to know my casino’s plans for the year, e.g., pro-rating point levels, etc.”

Several responded that it’s also a “safety issue.” Social distancing does not work in casinos, one person pointed out.

Plus, as another wrote, alcohol and COVID-19 do not mix. “How many times have drunken gamblers come up to you and invaded your personal space, either deliberately or unintentionally?”

It’s also an economic issue, according to many.

“People have lost jobs or taken pay cuts,” one person said. “Where are these discretionary funds going to come from? Even those who have a few extra dollars are not going to spend them — too much uncertainty about what the future holds.”

In addition, life has slowed down.

“I’ve taken time to stop and smell the flowers ... decide what is really important in life,” another wrote. “Suddenly, spending time in a casino playing a penny slot machine with an 85 percent return doesn’t seem like a remotely interesting pastime — especially when I consider that I could quite possibly lose my life.”

Finally, two people said flatly, “My gambling days are over.”

Start your virtual engines

PlaySugarHouse.com is among the first sportsbooks in the United States to be approved by New Jersey regulators to offer betting on the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. In-state players can place bets on a virtual auto race.

The first race in the series they can bet on is the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond on Sunday, April 19.

The Cup Series races feature stars of past and present, including Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The Series uses the premier motorsports racing simulation program – the same one used by NASCAR drivers to prepare for actual race events.

This form of virtual sports is different than others because the simulator offers a full NASCAR experience down to the dynamics of the car and the real-life differences between track surfaces.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question – without your name – may appear in a future column. Visit his website, MrACCasino.com, and follow him on Twitter @MrACCasino. Your questionwithout your namemay appear in a future column.