Crown Melbourne Planning to Reopen Thursday for VIP Members

  • Crown Melbourne has been closed since March 23 because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Extensive health and safety protocols are in place to ensure there is a safe reopening
  • Last week a NSW inquiry was advised that Crown Resorts is not suitable to hold a gaming license
Crown Melbourne sign
The Crown Melbourne casino is reopening on Thursday after being closed since March 23 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Back to business

Australia’s Crown Melbourne casino is planning to reopen its doors on Thursday after getting the all-clear from public health officials, despite ongoing scrutiny of its parent company. Extensive health and safety measures will be in place as the property reopens following COVID-19 pandemic-enforced closures. Initially, only VIP members will be permitted entry.

The Crown Melbourne, Crown Resorts’ flagship property, has not been open since March 23 as the Australian authorities tried to contain the virus. There were plans to reopen in July, but this did not happen after a second wave of the virus took hold, leading to the closure of non-essential services.

Lockdowns in Australia have been easing in recent weeks as virus cases decrease. This is paving the way for the reopening of the Crown Melbourne, announced via a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange Commission on Monday. 

A safe reopening

Crown Resorts CEO Ken Barton spoke about how the company has been working with the Victorian government and the health authorities for some time to figure out how to safely open the casino once more.

Together, they developed extensive hygiene and physical distancing measures. He said: “We are pleased to be able to commence the process of welcoming back our employees and customers to Crown Melbourne.”

guests may only stay at the facility for up to 90 minutes

As part of restrictions, only every second electronic table game and slot machine will be open for use. There can also only be up to ten customers in each of ten designated VIP areas. All guests may only stay at the facility for up to 90 minutes and there will be a “COVID Marshal” at every gaming floor area to make sure that all patrons comply with the rules. 

Regulatory issues

Crown Resorts has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons this year. At the conclusion of a seven-week public hearing last week, the New South Wales (NSW) Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry was advised that the casino company is not suitable to maintain a gaming license

Some of the reasons for its lack of suitability include links to organized crime, the allowance of money laundering at its Australian casinos, and putting its employees at risk on assignments in China. There were also concerns about the behavior of former CEO and still significant shareholder James Packer.

Crown Resorts is planning to open its new AU$2bn (US$1.46bn) casino and hotel complex in Sydney on December 14. With the inquiry not set to report its final findings until February, there is pressure to delay the opening.

The Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation is waiting for the NSW authorities to conclude its inquiry before fully investigating the Crown Melbourne’s operations.