Australian casino operators Crown Resorts Ltd and The Star Entertainment Group Ltd both announced on Monday restrictions to their respective gaming venues, in order to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The two companies said they would implement a minimum distance between casino patrons and reduce gaming capacity in the near term.
In a Monday filing to the Australian Securities Exchange, Crown Resorts said that it had implemented in Crown Melbourne (pictured) from that day a minimum distance – though not specified – between players at seated table games, and that no customers would be allowed to be standing by these tables.
At each stand-up table game, the number of players was also restricted to five only, said Crown Resorts. The firm was also deactivating every second gaming machine and electronic table game, it added.
Crown Resorts runs a gaming complex in Melbourne, Victoria; one in Perth, Western Australia; and is developing a third at Barangaroo in Sydney, New South Wales. The company said in a separate filing on Tuesday that the same measures would be applied to the gaming floor at Crown Perth.
“Crown has also implemented other precautionary measures across its Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth entertainment complexes, including the provision of alcohol-based hand sanitiser and more frequent and strengthened cleaning measures,” stated the casino operator in Monday’s statement.
Australian market rival operator The Star Entertainment also said in a Monday filing that it was “increasing distancing” at seated table games between players, and restricting the number of players at each stand-up table game. The firm did not specify the minimum distance between patrons nor the maximum number of players that would be allowed at each table.
The Star Entertainment said also that it had deactivated every second gaming machine and electronic table game, in order to “create additional distance” between customers.
The Star Entertainment runs The Star Sydney in New South Wales; it also runs The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane, both in the state of Queensland.
“The safety and wellbeing of our guests and team members remains of highest importance to The Star,” said the company on Monday. “We will continue to monitor development with Covid-19 and follow recommendations we receive from relevant health authorities,” it added.
The two companies said additionally they would restrict large gatherings in their respective food and beverage, banqueting, conference facilities and theatre venues.
As at 1pm on Monday local time, Australia had recorded 298 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to Australia’s Department of Health. The health department noted that Australia did not have “widespread community transmission” of the virus as the authorities were working to slow the pandemic outbreak.
Restrictions to gaming capacity or the outright closure of casinos are part of measures that have been implemented in several jurisdictions across the globe.
All gaming operations in Metro Manila have been suspended from midnight on Sunday, said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor). Macau ordered the closure of the city’s casinos for a 15-day period in February, and such venues are now operating at a reduced capacity due to restrictions imposed by the local government.
Concerns linked to the spread of Covid-19 also have lead to casino shutdowns until late March in a number of states in the United States, including in the Las Vegas Strip, in Nevada.
(Updated at 8.40am, March 17)
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"There’s a huge amount of possibilities out there and in the case of Macau, it seems that some of these issues should be considered or we may lose the epithet of gambling capital of the world"
Macau-based lawyer and senior partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei and Cortés