New coronavirus restrictions in Australia force land-based casinos to close

Australia’s land-based casinos will be subject to several operating restrictions after new coronavirus restrictions have been introduced across several Australian states.

The decision comes after several Australian states have recorded an increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

New restrictions for Australia’s casinos

Due to an increase in coronavirus cases, the governments in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia have tightened restrictions once again.

As a result, land-based casinos in those states will have to reduce or completely stop their gambling operations until the restrictions are lifted.

In New South Wales, the government issued an extended stay-at-home order on 26 June, which means that Crown Resorts’ Crown Sydney casino will have to remain closed until 9 July at least. This will also extend to the operator’s on-site food and beverage services and conference space.

Meanwhile, Star Entertainment’s Star Sydney will remain closed until 9 July, however, the on-site hotel will be permitted to operate in a limited capacity.

Elsewhere in the country, the Western Australia government, on Sunday 27 June, imposed new restrictions on the Perth and Peel regions. Under these restrictions, casino operators in the state must suspend all gambling activities for at least three days.

The Crown casino in Perth will close, however, its on-site hotel, food, and beverage facilities will remain open during the period.

Restrictions were also announced by Queensland’s government which will limit access to casinos in the region starting on 29 June.

As a result, Star’s Queensland facilities will be allowed to continue operating with a limited capacity of one person per four square metres indoors. On top of this, customers will be required to wear face masks while on the premises and customers must also remain seated when eating or drinking.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s government has pushed forward with a planned relaxing of restrictions. This means that Crown Melbourne can operate its casino with some restrictions in place.

On 25 June, restrictions were eased allowing a capacity of 300 guests for each indoor space. In addition to this, electronic gaming machines must be spread at least 1.5m apart, either by every second machine being turned off or a physical spacing between machines.

Table games will also operate at 1.5m apart with seated service only.

Crown Melbourne’s hotels, restaurants and bars will continue to operate under the Victorian government’s guidance.

What else is happening in Australia?

Last week, it was revealed that Engine, the company behind the UK’s Gamban self-exclusion service, was selected by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to create Australia’s first-ever national self-exclusion service.

According to the ACMA’s announcement, Engine has been appointed to develop and operate the National Self-Exclusion Register. Once rolled out, the Register will allow people to self-exclude from all licensed interactive wagering service providers in a single process.

Consumers will be able to self-exclude for anywhere between three months to permanently and will cover licensed online and telephone betting services such as those offering betting on horse racing and sports.

The project is currently moving into the second stage of development where the ACMA will begin consultations with industry stakeholders.

Once approved, Engine will begin the design and development of the self-exclusion system.  Trialing of the service is expected to commence later this year ahead of an anticipated launch before mid-2022.