March 24, 2020

Australia Shuts Down Casinos in Response to COVID-19

Australia Shuts Down Casinos in Response to COVID-19

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ordered the closure of casinos in the country in a bid to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

“More widespread restrictions” with regards to social gatherings were put in place after state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers held a meeting on March 22. These measures include the shutdown of pubs, hotels, casinos, and entertainment venues.

According to the Prime Minister, Australians should expect the closures to last for up to six months.  

The 2020 Australian Football League (AFL) and the National Rugby League (NRL) seasons, which were set to be played behind closed doors, are now suspended indefinitely. But horse and greyhound racing are scheduled to continue behind closed doors.

Tabcorp, the biggest gambling operator in the country, said that the shutdown of pubs and hotels—where it hosts gaming machines—will significantly impact its revenues. Furthermore, it explained that the order could eventually result to the closure of its TAB betting shops.

Safety First

Convenience stores and other sellers of Tabcorp’s lottery products, however, will not be included in the measures and will stay open.

“The health and safety of our people, partners and the community are our priority at this point in time,” David Attenborough, Tabcorp managing director and chief executive, said. “We are working with governments, regulators, and our venue and racing industry partners to manage the impact on them, our customers and our businesses during this unprecedented period,” he added.

Attenborough also said, “We recognize how difficult this situation is for our people, our industry partners and the community, and we are committed to using the strength of our business model and our enduring partnerships to come through this stronger, together.”

According to the operator, revenue from licensed venues, TAB agencies, as well as on-course outlets made up for approximately 28% of revenue, whereas sports betting—including those from the abovementioned outlets—made up about 4%.

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