Australian casinos are planning for virus rebound

by William Brown Last Updated
Crown sale could lead to asset break up

Australia was hit by the coronavirus pandemic as have most places around the world.

Compared to other countries though, it has appeared to have reduced the damage better and earlier.

Casino Aus reports that despite this, Aussie businesses have been closed as per government directions since March.

More than a month and a half later, casinos are among the companies anxious to reopen and try to start repairing the damage inflicted by the pandemic.

Health officials in Australia watched the reports of mass illness and death coming from Wuhan, China as 2020 took hold.

And as the numbers grew and reports piled up from other countries like Italy, Australia took some early measures that may have helped mitigate the damage.

Australia started February by blocking all travellers from China.

A handful of cases had been recorded by the third week of February when Australia began requiring self-isolation for any travellers entering the country.

Cruise ships were also prohibited from docking in Australia.

At the same time, the government banned travellers from other countries such as Iran, South Korea and then Italy by the second week of March.

The government’s quick actions may have been one of the best responses in the world to the pandemic.

On March 24, there were 424 cases, which ended up being the high mark of the incidence chart.

There were 419 new cases on March 28 and on April 28, there were 18 cases.

The Age reported this week that Crown Casino executives joined a state government organised group to discuss the possibilities surrounding reopening businesses.

Representatives from pokies companies, pubs and community clubs attended as well; Tabcorp, Woolworths’ pokies sector ALH, Australian Hotels Association, and more were involved.

The group has been working closely with the Department of Justice to develop a list of requirements for a variety of businesses that want to be some of the first to reopen.

Even so, the Aussie government may not allow major venues to reopen until July or August.

State Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz indicated a late-July date may be possible.

Venue capacity limits and temperature testing likely

A source in the gaming industry says that facilities will likely have to limit capacity to one person every four square metres of floor space.

People will be required to maintain a 1.5 metre distance between each other.

In additions, patrons will likely be required to submit to a temperature reading before entering.

Every second gaming machine will be likely turned off and their stools removed.

Table games will be restricted to three or four people per table with a seat separating each person.

Companies like Crown Resorts face some major decisions in the coming weeks.

The company stood down 95 per cent of its employees after the shutdowns, while the Star did the same with 90 per cent of its staff.

Not only do they want to bring back as many employees as possible, they want to stave off further financial losses.

The sooner they are able to resume some type of operations, the sooner their executives can figure out their next steps and a better picture of the future.

Many gambling enthusiasts and poker players moved their action to online casinos and poker rooms during shutdown.

With no live options available, they tested out many of the online casinos that still offer poker games and casino games to Aussies.

Some online casinos reported deposits up 60 per cent in the past month, though initial numbers in March indicates as much as a 67 per cent increase.

None of the companies benefiting from online gambling are located in Australia due to strict laws that prohibit any online poker or casino activities.

Since prohibition doesn’t work – especially in a time of home-based quarantines – online gambling is thriving.

Google Trends reported searches for online poker and online casinos in Australia have quadrupled since mid-March.

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