Poker King Club, a business division of privately-held Macau junket investor Suncity Group, announced on Wednesday that its poker room at the Venetian Macao would for the time being remain closed, despite the city’s casinos being permitted to resume operations from Thursday (February 20).
The poker promoter said via a social media account that the decision to extend the closure of the room was due to the guidelines from the Macau gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ.
Poker King Club said that in line with the regulator’s guidelines, “the number of gaming tables [at casinos] will be adjusted to ensure that the risk of infection with the novel coronavirus is reduced, and each gaming table allows a maximum of four people to bet simultaneously”.
“Therefore, our poker room at the Venetian Macao will remain closed,” it stated, flagging the fact that poker is generally a communal-style game
Poker King Club organises events across Asia Pacific, and also runs two other rooms in the region: one at Solaire Resort and Casino in the Philippine capital, Manila; and another at Paradise Grand Jeju Casino, on the holiday island of Jeju, South Korea.
The Macau casino regulator said on Wednesday that only 29 of the 39 active casinos in the city were to reopen after the stroke of midnight on Thursday. These casinos would only offer about 1,800 gaming tables, representing “below 30 percent” of the existing gaming tables in the market, according to comments from DICJ’s director, Paulo Martins Chan, during a press briefing.
The Macau government had already announced that the reopening of the city’s casinos would involve special arrangements regarding density of seating for customers at gaming tables and a minimum space being required between operational tables.
Such measures included a restriction to the number of seats at each gaming table, with the casino regulator stating that there should be an empty seat between each of the patrons. As such, only three to four guests should be permitted to sit at what would ordinarily be a seven-seat gaming table, said DICJ.
The government said earlier this week that it would give the city’s casinos permission to apply for a grace period of up to 30 days before resuming their operations.
A number of poker tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region has either been cancelled or postponed, while some – such as the Asian Poker Tour’s Taiwan event from March 4 to 15 – will run as planned. The World Poker Tour said last week it was cancelling or postponing all of its Asia Pacific events until May.
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