In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, Australian casinos are turning off half their slot machines in order to reduce the number of gamblers in close proximity to each other.
Casinos around the world are shutting down their doors to try to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus. Back in February, Macau closed all its casinos for two weeks. The plan worked, and the island has managed to contain the disease – the tiny island only had 10 cases and all 10 are now recovered.
The rest of the world is still struggling and countries are taking drastic measures by closing their casinos.
Although Australia is not pushing things that far, the country’s two largest casinos are taking steps to enforce social distancing in an effort to avoid contagion. The country currently has just under 300 cases and five deaths related to the new coronavirus.
Crown Resorts and rival Star Entertainment Group (which operate in Sydney and Melbourne) will switch every second slot machine so people won’t sit next to each other while gambling. They will also limit the number of players who can gamble at a single table at once, and limit the number of patrons at their restaurants to 500 to comply with the new regulations imposed by the Australian government (limiting gatherings to no more than 500 people).
While both companies have already confirmed the changes, the gambling and tourism sectors still worry about the impact of the pandemic. Revenues are significantly down in the past two months, as travel restrictions have affected the number of Asian gamblers landing in Australia. The new gambling restrictions will also now affect domestic gamblers, who mostly play slots.
Even before the new partial shutdown of machines is in place, Crown shares have already fallen 11% while Star’s shares are down 24% to their lowest number ever. While experts can’t predict exactly how much lower the numbers will get, the closure will definitely have an effect on the year’s total revenue.
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