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Crown Casinos enjoy ‘exemptions’ to remain open in Melbourne and Perth

Crown Casinos enjoy ‘exemptions’ to remain open in Melbourne and Perth
March 19, 2020

Despite advice that casinos and poker machine venues around the country should be closed to slow the Coronavirus outbreak, the Melbourne and Perth casinos operated by Crown Resorts continue to operate, enjoying exemptions from health authorities in each state.

The casinos have each reportedly been deemed an ‘essential service’, exempted from restrictions on social gatherings.

Both venues have closed every second poker machine, but restaurants and high-roller rooms remain open - although patronage at the high-roller rooms is understood to have been dramatically cut by international travel bans.

Crown today advised that said it would reduce the number of people allowed at any one time in its restaurants from 450, a number set only on Monday, to 100.

However, a group of public health experts led by Monash University Associate Professor Charles Livingstone have written a letter to state health ministers and Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt calling for all poker machine venues to be closed to slow the transmission of Coronavirus.

Associate Professor Livingstone, a sociologist and gambling researcher who has long been a critic of Crown, said about 1,400 poker machines remain operational at the Melbourne casino.

The told Guardian Australia that poker machine buttons and screens were “sweaty, stinky and pretty horrible”, going on to advise “the capacity of Crown to wipe down machines between users is virtually impossible.

“Crown should be shut down now and so should all the pokie joints.”

In the USA, casinos in Nevada have reportedly closed down, while Australia’s casinos continue to operate.

Crown’s Australian casinos employ 18,500 people, and their closure would severely impact employment in Perth and Melbourne at a time when many hospitality and tourism staff are already being laid off due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Guardian Australia reported that Crown is allowed to keep operating in Victoria under an exemption provided by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton.

Image: Melbourne's Crown Casino.

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18th March 2020 - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison halts international travel and bans indoor gatherings of over 100

18th March 2020 - Adelaide Festival Centre and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre announce venue closures

13th March 2020 - Non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people effectively banned across Australia

4th January 2020 - VTIC provides advice for businesses impacted by the bushfires

2nd August 2019 - Victorian Government to investigate Crown casino crime allegations

30th May 2019 - Recently installed high-end PA system boosts the appeal of Crown Theatre Perth

27th April 2018 - Crown casino fined for ‘blanking’ slot machines

21st March 2018 - James Packer resigns from Crown Resorts citing mental health reasons

26th June 2017 - China jails Australian Crown Resorts staff for promoting gambling

4th October 2016 - Gambling revenue dips at Crown Perth as visitor numbers fall

15th August 2015 - Ticketmaster partners with Crown Resort venues in Melbourne and Perth

27th May 2013 - Crown casino to shed 50 jobs in Melbourne

15th December 2011 - Burswood Entertainment Complex to become Crown Perth

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