ACT gaming venues and casino to reopen

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
view of Casino Canberra from the street

Restrictions on gaming venues in the ACT are set to be eased on Monday, which will put punters back at the state’s casino tables.

Canberra Times reports that Casino Canberra, alongside strip clubs and brothels, were given the green light to resume trading from 9am on August 8, as part of the next stage of reopening the ACT economy.

Casino Canberra chief executive Allison Gallaugher said the bar, restaurant, lounge, gaming tables and poker machines would be open from noon for the first time in five months.

“It’s a huge relief, We have 230-plus staff who depend on us for their livelihoods,” she said.

“We also have team members who are visa holders who don’t qualify for JobKeeper, so it is a great relief that we can get them back to work and earning some money again.”

In addition to health regulations which limit numbers to 100 seated customers or one customer per four square metres, Casino Canberra introduced its own COVID-19 safety precautions.

Staff and patrons will have their temperatures checked on entry, there will be perspex screens on gaming tables, a reduction in players at each table and a COVID-19 marshal on duty to ensure compliance.

Ms Gallaugher said she firmly believed they could guarantee the safety of customers in what had been deemed a high-risk environment.

“Patrons will not handle cards, our chips are cleaned regularly and all machines and gaming stations are cleaned between every customer,” Ms Gallaugher said.

“Our focus remains on the health and safety of patrons, employees and the community.”’

Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s announcement this week will allow pokies to be turned back on at ACT clubs, escort agencies and saunas to reopen and food courts to offer dine-in service.

There will be no limit on the size of groups who can drink in bars, clubs and pubs without ordering food, but they must be seated.

Up to 25 patrons will be allowed in gyms during unstaffed hours.

New Kansas City casino hopes to reshape precinct

The Isle of Capri hopes to make its riverfront establishment even more vibrant under new ownership, the Kansas City Business Journal reported in July.

Rhode-Island based Twin River Worldwide Holdings plans to rebuild the casino off East Front Street as Casino KC and invest $61 million into new aesthetics and features, officials shared on Monday during a Port Authority of Kansas City development committee meeting.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings hopes to “substantially reposition the casino with a transformational redevelopment plan”, with most related capital expenditures expected in 2021, the casino owner and manager announced in a recent release.

The endeavour includes reskinning the existing structure and building a new restaurant, experiential retail, a spa and an amphitheatre, Port KC documents show.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings also could consider an on-site hotel.

A site schematic shows a revamped casino lobby area, with new restaurant, bars and retail adjacent to either side, and the amphitheatre at the property’s southwest corner.

Port KC’s vice president of real estate Joe Perry described the renovations as “synergistic” with the developing Berkley Riverfront area.

“That’s exciting for all of us. We know that when the casino does better, the city and Port KC do better,” he said on Monday.

In 2018, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority noted a “potential opportunity” to extend the planned northern route a mile to the east, connecting the casino to Berkley Riverfront Park.

The Isle of Capri consists of about 40,000 square feet of casino space, with 939 gaming machines, 13 table games and two dining venues.

Figures from the Missouri Gaming Commission show that in June, the Isle of Capri had 77,100 visitors and total adjust gross revenue of $4.3 million – both the smallest among the four casinos on the Missouri side of the metro area.

On July 2, Twin River Worldwide Holdings completed its $230 million acquisition of the Isle of Capri and the Lady Luck Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi, from previous owner Eldorado Resorts.

“We believe these assets are a great fit for our portfolio and see the opportunity to increase the net cash flow from these properties with our redevelopment and operating plans,” chief executive of Twin River George Papanier said.

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