Crown Casino Slammed for Staying Open During COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Labor politician Anthony Byrne has spoken out against the party's state government
  • Crown Casino and other venues remain open despite the continued spread of COVID-19
  • Byrne feels the government is wrong in giving special treatment to gaming venues
Melbourne's Crown Casino Towers
Labor politician Anthony Byrne has hit out against the government for allowing facilities like the Crown Casino to remain open despite restrictions to fight the spread of COVID-19. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Labor politician blasts Crown Casino

The Victorian government has come under fire for allowing the Crown Casino and other venues to remain open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Labor politician Anthony Byrne has spoken out against his party’s state government. He said their failure to close casinos could expose more people to the novel coronavirus, and stated that it is a national security concern.

Byrne called the description of the casino rubbish

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews called the Crown Casino a unique space that had a right to remain open despite restrictions in the region. Byrne called the description of the casino rubbish and described staying in operation as “untenable.”

Shut down now

In his statements, Byrne said that this pandemic is a national security matter that requires everyone to take proper precautions to protect the community. To do this, the Crown and other casinos must be shut down.

The politician said he is dealing with scared emergency workers. He wonders what he is supposed to tell them if they are infected by someone exposed to the virus after catching it from the casino.

Byrne said: “Crown doesn’t offer a unique community service. It is not a special place. It undermines confidence in government measures to contain the virus by giving Crown a free ride to remain open.”

According to Byrne, the government is taking an inconsistent approach when it comes to tackling the health issue. He believes it is at risk of sending unclear messages to members of the public and businesses. Casinos are not an essential service.

COVID-19 in Australia

A total of 876 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Australia, with seven deaths so far. Domestic travel is not advised unless absolutely necessary. Queensland has shut its western border with the Northern Territory to try and stop the spread of the virus. The government is even considering locking down certain areas if they see a spike in COVID-19 cases.

While all of this is going on, the Victoria and Perth Crown are running their gaming rooms. At these facilities, every second poker machine has been switched off to enforce social distancing. Star Entertainment in New South Wales and Queensland have restricted their hours of operation to try and stop the spread of the virus. Star properties close for four hours of each morning so cleaning can take place.

every second poker machine has been switched off to enforce social distancing

Charles Livingstone, a professor at the Monsah University School of Public Health, is also a critic of the Crown. He stated that the failure to shut down casinos could enhance the spread of the virus.

US casino shutdown

Unlike Australia, across the United States, casinos are shutting down at a rapid rate. Some are setting a timeline while others are closing indefinitely.

Earlier this week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy decided to close all entertainment venues, including casinos, to take an aggressive approach to social distancing.

Nevada took the same approach, deciding to take a month-long shutdown of gaming venues. The order also covers slot machines located in convenience stores.