The Crown Resorts have announced that they would resume operations at their Melbourne casino. The management of Crown Resorts made this public after the Victorian government lifted the lockdown in the state.
Their Crown Melbourne casino was forced to stop operations when the state government halted all gaming activities on the 16th of July 2021. Although the lockdown was brief, it has caused some losses for the casinos in the state.
However, with the lockdown lifted, gaming and non-gaming activities have commenced from the 28th of July 2021. Notwithstanding, casinos are mandated to obey certain restrictions.
Restrictions That Crown Resorts and Other Casinos Must Obey
Although the Victorian government has lifted the ban on the operation of gaming and non-gaming activities, some restrictions still remain in place. No doubt, the restrictions aim to slow down or curb the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus. Some of the restrictions that would remain in place are:
- Capacity: All the casinos in Victoria must limit the number of visitors at their venue. For instance, the maximum number of people required to be in an indoor space is 100 patrons or one person per four square meters. The aim of downsizing the number of visitors is to limit the physical contact between players at casinos.
- Mask: Also, patrons at all real money casinos situated in Victoria must wear nose masks or face shields. Visitors that don’t wear nose masks will not be allowed indoors.
More so, casinos in Melbourne are required to document the particulars of all the visitors that visit the venues. Most likely, the aim is to ensure efficient and effective contact tracing if there is anyone who gets infected.
Crown Resorts Offsets Their Taxes
According to reports, Crown Resorts also offset the sum of AUD 61.0m ($37.9), which was an underpayment of casino tax dating back to 2012. During an investigation by the Victoria Royal Commission of Crown Resort tax obligations.
The Commission also ordered that the US$37m should be paid to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR). Also, the tax relates to some incorrect deductions of some bonus rewards that were offered to gamblers on Crown Melbourne’s electronic gaming machine. Meanwhile, the Commission also ordered Crown Resort to pay another US$24million to Victoria state as interest for the underpayment of the casino tax.
Crown Resort made a total payment of US$61m to cover both the tax underpayment, interest, and other charges as outlined by the Victoria Royal Commission. According to Crown Resort management, they have also notified VCGLR of the payments made.
Overview of Crown Resort Casinos
Crown Resort is one of the largest gaming and entertainment groups in Australia. Crown Resort was founded in 2007. Also, Crown Resort owns three gaming and entertainment venues in Australia Crown Melbourne, Crown Perth, and Crown Sydney. In 2018, Crown Resort recorded a market capitalization of AUS$8.7b. Interestingly, Crown Resorts also operates gaming and entertainment centers.
Furthermore, Crown Resort was indicted by a commission set up to investigate their connection with money laundering at their Melbourne casino venue. In all, Crown Resort was discovered to be owing US$61m, according to the Victoria Royal Commission. With all the payments made to VGCR, Crown Resort seems to have crossed that road. During the Victoria Royal Commission hearing, there were speculations that Crown Resort Melbourne would be shut down after the hearing. However, that is not the case with Crown Melbourne reopening on the 28th of July 2021.
Impact of the COVID-19 on Casinos in the Victoria State
No doubt, casinos in Victoria state have suffered a series of setbacks because of the various lockdowns. According to Melissa Horne, while some gamblers benefited from an enforced break in the land-based gambling sectors, others didn’t. Melissa is the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation.
However, while the land-based casinos in Victoria State were reeling from their losses, most players switched to gambling at online casinos. According to Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas, said that more than 30% of regular land-based gamblers switched to various forms of online gambling.
Undoubtedly, the online market is viable in Victoria State and seems to have grown immensely because of the forced break in land-based gambling.
Should Players Expect Changes at Crown Resort Melbourne?
Yes, there would most likely be some changes in Crown Resort Melbourne. Especially as regards compliance with the restrictions set out by the Victoria state government. Crown Resort would not operate in its 100 percent capacity, and patrons must comply with all the guidelines set out by the government. Finally, land-based casino platforms like Crown Resort need to adopt some form of online gambling to reduce losses. To crown it all, online casinos are taking over the gambling space.