South Australian pubs and clubs eager to reopen

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated

Pubs and clubs across South Australia are urging the state government to ease the poker machine shutdowns that have been in effect since venues first shut in March.

The calls come as pubs across the state reopen to a maximum capacity of 80 people, however, gaming rooms remain shut.

Under current plans, pubs and clubs will be allowed to welcome punters back into their pokie rooms as part of the third stage of reopening, but the date for this has not yet been set, according to Cruise 1323.

The Adelaide Advertiser reports that the venue lockdowns have been costing the state’s pubs and clubs around $1 million per day.

Prior to South Australia’s lockdown, around $54 million was played through the state’s pokies.

Not everybody is as keen to see the return of the pokies, with gambling reform advocates arguing that now is the time to break Australians’ relationship with the machines.

The shutdown has seen the ACT’s chief minister Andrew Barr offering community clubs in Canberra $15,000 to hand back their poker machine licenses.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform is pushing for other state and territory governments across the country to introduce similar measures.

New South Wales became the first state to allow some gaming venues to reopen.

Over 12,000 gaming machines operate in South Australia.

Venue capacity limits and temperature testing likely

A source in the gaming industry says that facilities will likely have to limit capacity to one person every four square metres of floor space.

People will be required to maintain a 1.5 metre distance between each other.

In addition, patrons will likely be required to submit to a temperature reading before entering.

Every second gaming machine will be likely turned off and their stools removed.

Table games will be restricted to three or four people per table with a seat separating each person.

Companies like Crown Resorts face some major decisions in the coming weeks.

The company stood down 95 per cent of its employees after the shutdowns, while the Star did the same with 90 per cent of its staff.

Not only do they want to bring back as many employees as possible, they want to stave off further financial losses.

The sooner they are able to resume some type of operations, the sooner their executives can figure out their next steps and a better picture of the future.

Many gambling enthusiasts and poker players moved their action to online casinos and poker rooms during shutdown.

With no live options available, they tested out many of the online casinos that still offer poker games and casino games to Aussies.

Some real money online casinos reported deposits up 60 per cent in the past month, though initial numbers in March indicate as much as a 67 per cent increase.

None of the companies benefiting from online gambling are located in Australia due to strict laws that prohibit any online poker or casino activities.

Since prohibition doesn’t work – especially in a time of home-based quarantines – online gambling is thriving.

Google Trends reported searches for online poker and online casinos in Australia have quadrupled since mid-March.

States and territories in Australia all have a different timeline for reopening their pubs, clubs, casinos and pokies venues.

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