Coronavirus Impacting Aussie Casinos
COVID-19, also known simply as the “coronavirus,” continues to make its way across the globe. Businesses have been hit especially hard, as many have closed their doors in order to fight the spread of the pandemic. In many cases, this includes land-based casinos, so I thought I’d update readers on how the coronavirus is affecting Aussie gambling.
No Access to Tasmania
On Thursday, Tasmania declared a state of emergency and essentially closed its borders to the rest of Australia. Non-essential travellers will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Those who don’t comply will face six months in jail or an AU$16,800 fine.
Despite some calls for all gaming machines to be shut down, business is continuing for the moment. At Wrest Point, Country Club and 12 pubs, every second poker machine will be turned off to increase distance between customers.
Australia Closes Its Borders
On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison closed the borders of Australia. The only exceptions are Australian citizens or permanent residents.
All tournaments have been cancelled until further notice. Also, the casino is removing some chairs on the gaming floor to keep patrons spread out. At this time, no facilities within the casino have closed.
Star Entertainment Group
While they’ve yet to close their doors, the three casinos owned by Star Entertainment Group are taking extra precautions. Each day, the Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane closes from 4am to 8am for comprehensive cleaning. Meanwhile, the Star Sydney will close from 6am to 10am for the same reasons.
Conference and restaurant spaces will remain open for the time being. However, the number in any room will be capped at 500.
All weekly poker tournaments have been cancelled for the moment. Also, a maximum of five seats may be occupied at a time on poker tables. Social distancing has also been applied to all electronic machines, with every other game turned off in an effort to create space between players.
Like many of the other casinos mentioned above, all Crown properties will turn off every second pokie to help with social distancing. They will also restrict the number of people in conference or restaurant spaces to 450.
For poker and table games, onlookers are being asked to refrain from standing around. Also, a maximum of five players are allowed to participate in any given table or poker game.
Despite their efforts, Crown and the Victorian government have drawn criticism for staying open. One of their chief critics has been Labor politician Anthony Byrne. According to him, “Given this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic is a matter of national security requiring us to take all steps to protect our community, Crown and other casinos have to be shut down.”
Meanwhile in Las Vegas
On Tuesday, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos (and other nonessential businesses) in the state to shutter their doors for 30 days. The deadline for closure was midnight, but Vegas giants such as the Venetian and Wynn had already voluntarily suspended operations.
Now, the famed Las Vegas Strip is bathed in darkness. The sidewalks are empty, and even the postcard-worthy Bellagio fountains have been turned off.
Here are a few simple tips to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus:
- Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds.
- If possible, stay inside your home.
- Avoid close physical contact with individuals.
- Avoid large groups of people.
If you’re waiting out the coronavirus and looking for something to read, here are some gambling-related options: