LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 30: The casino floor at the New York New York Hotel and Casino is seen on May 30, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The COVID 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 some useful lessons that will endure even after the pandemic is a distant memory. That is according to panelists at a major casino conference in Atlantic City. Speaking at the East Coast Gaming Congress, executives say changes they were forced to make due to the pandemic had some benefits, including better sanitization procedures and the elimination of buffets in some places. The industry also learned how to operate with fewer workers.