One of the few surviving the coronavirus /Covid-19/ spread-halting measures casino in the world, Crown Resorts’ casino in Melbourne, has been forced to shut down its main gaming floor by authorities in Victoria, to firm up their efforts to contain the virus.
Casino Gaming Was As Much Essential As Supply Stores
Initially, the government in Victoria allowed the flagship casino to continue its operations by granting it a special exemption from the social distancing rules, but health experts, political and public pressure forced them to reconsider the decision.
Before the exemption was withdrawn, Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino was allowed to continue as long as it implemented certain measures to limit indoor gatherings to 100 people. In response, the casino management deactivated every second slot machine and placed a limit to the number of attendants for its restaurants, bars and other venues.
However, that decision by the Victoria government spurred a lot of controversy, with some health experts arguing that rules implemented everywhere should apply for Crown Resorts, too.
Some of them went further asking on what grounds casino gaming was considered an essential service to be granted with an exemption of the rule. Besides, slot machine venues are famous for attracting people from the age bracket that has most terminal cases from the virus disease and some of them are unable to exercise rational decision-making due to their gambling addictions, further objections clarified.
World Example And Public Pressure Gave Results
Pressure on the state government began mounting after casinos across the world started closing down and, even in Nevada, the state that is considered to be the world capital of the industry, casinos were not spared from the mass social distancing effort and were forced to close doors. Casino giants such as Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts even voluntarily decided to shut operations temporary, to help prevent the further spread of the virus.
On Saturday, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews informed the public that the special exemption that was granted to the Crown casino in Melbourne had been revoked by the chief health officer and the casino should close down its main gaming floor only, as the smaller gambling rooms such as the Mahogany Room, would remain unaffected and continue operations.
“We’re not confident the measures that were in place and were appropriate are appropriate now.”Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews
Despite the announcement, critics for the state government would not die easily as their latest actions were considered delayed, and some health officials still arguing that public health “trumps” gambling profits.
Closure Affects State Budget
From an economic impact point of view, the initial decision to grant the hotel and casino complex Crown Melbourne an exemption makes sense, as it is the largest private sector employer in the state, giving occupation to more than 12,500 employees and its closure would have a devastating effect on Victoria’s economy. Crown is also a huge contributor to the state budget, with more than A$238 million in taxes paid for 2019 financial year.