Crown Melbourne Closed for Another Six Weeks, Coronavirus Cases Spike

Posted on: July 7, 2020, 10:06h.

Last updated on: July 7, 2020, 10:54h.

Crown Melbourne will remain closed for at least another six weeks after Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced Australia’s second-largest city was reentering the Stage 3 lockdown.


A Crown Melbourne security guard patrols the casino entrance. (Image: Scott Barbour/AAP Image)

Effective 11:59 pm local time July 8, and running for at least six weeks, 5.2 million Victorians will be required to stay home –- four exceptions being to shop for food and essential goods, to care for the elderly or those in need, outdoor exercise, or for work or study if it cannot be done from home.

As a result, Crown Resorts’ flagship property will remain closed until further notice. The integrated casino resort suspended operations on March 23. Melbourne restaurants, including those inside Crown Melbourne, began reopening on June 1 for in-person dining, but will now be forced to revert to only offering delivery and takeout.

Andrews says public health officials recommended the reimposition of a lockdown following the state experiencing 191 new COVID-19 positive cases in a single 24-hour period — the state’s highest one-day total during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know we are on the cusp of something very, very bad,” Andrews declared. “It is simply impossible with case rates at this level to suppress and contain this virus without taking significant steps.”

Crown Thorns

Crown Resorts’ other casino resort — Crown Perth in Western Australia — reopened on June 27. Star Entertainment, the other integrated resort casino operator Down Under, recommenced operations last week at its properties in Sydney, Brisbane, and Gold Coast.

The Perth casino floor features roughly 350 table games and 2,000 electronic gaming machines. The Melbourne casino has approximately 400 tables and 2,500 machines.

Crown Melbourne is the largest casino in Australia, and Crown Resorts derives the majority of its revenue from the property.

During the company’s 2019 fiscal year, Crown Resorts reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of AUD 3.139 billion ($2.19 billion). Crown Melbourne was responsible for $1.5 billion — or 68.5 percent.

Crown’s first priority is the health and safety of its employees, guests, and the community,” said a Crown Resorts statement issued shortly after Andrews’ order.

In June, Crown secured approximately $700 million in loans. “It means we can sustain ourselves for quite a while, irrespective of what goes on,” Crown Resorts CEO Ken Barton said at the time.

Border Closure

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian is closing down the border with Victoria in response to escalating cases in the neighboring state.

Unlike in other parts of Australia where new cases have been identified, Victoria’s latest patients have become infected via community transmission. Elsewhere in Australia, patients were traced to contracting the virus overseas.

What is occurring in Victoria has not yet occurred anywhere else in Australia,” Berejiklian said yesterday. “It’s a new part of the pandemic, and as such, it requires a new type of response.”

One bit of good news for Crown is that construction continues on its $1.5 billion casino resort in Sydney. However, the Australian casino giant remains under an inquiry in New South Wales, where officials are determining whether the company’s alleged ties to organized crime and failure to prevent money laundering should be grounds to revoke its gaming license.

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