China is in the grip of the deadly coronavirus with almost 60,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,350 deaths. Other countries are reporting infections daily, and Japan just confirmed its first coronavirus-related fatality.
The gambling haven of Macau is already on lock down with all casino ceasing operations for at least two weeks. Macau’s government put the preventative measures in place in an attempt to stop the virus spreading through the principality.
Many Australian casinos rely on the influx of Chinese gamblers to hit their lofty revenue targets. Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment are two of the biggest Aussie casino feeling the effects of coronavirus.
Neither casino operator has yet released financial information into the public domain. However, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council claims coronavirus is costing them billions of dollars.
Coronavirus Costing Australian Tourism $1 Billion a Month
China is Australia’s largest tourism market with 1.4 million visitors flocking here every year. Those 1.4 million Chinese customers spend approximately $12 billion between them. China is preventing its residents from leaving the country, therefore, impacting on Australian tourism.
Daniel Gschwind, the Chief Executive of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, fears long term repercussions for the gaming sector.
“I think this is the biggest crisis we have faced in a decade,” said Gschwind. “The loss of business around Chinese New Year is irrevocable. It will come back, but when? Many businesses have been pushed to the absolute brink and possibly beyond.”
Gschwind has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking the government to double the $76 million given to Tourism Australia on the back of the devastating bushfires. Gschwind says more funding is needed, especially as the coronavirus outbreak is costing the industry $1 billion a month.
Chinese Tourists Love Gambling in Australia
Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney are the most popular destinations for Chinese visitors, although they also flock to Cairns and the Gold Coast. Casinos are extremely popular with Chinese tourists because gambling is part of Chinese culture.
Tourism Research Australia showed one in 10 Chinese tourists frequented a casino in the year to September 2019. They gambled more than $40 million combined. Some 41,673 Chinese tourists stated they gambled at a casino and each spent approximately $1,000. That figure, however, is expected to be vastly under-represented.
Those figures show the power China has within the Australian casino market. Casinos cannot afford to lose $40 million of revenue, never mind a figure thought to be much higher than this. Australian casino are void of Chinese gamblers for the foreseeable future thanks to the coronavirus.
Steps to Prevent The Coronavirus
We are in scary times with the coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down. It is accelerating if anything. That doesn’t mean you should stop heading to the casino and playing your favourite games. You just need to take a few precautions and ensure you do everything possible to prevent contracting the virus.
Of course, one almost sure-fire way to not catch coronavirus is to stay at home and play online casino games. Pokies.com has a long list of excellent partners who were have personally played casino games at.
Those of you wanting to play blackjack, roulette, or pokies at your local casino simply need to follow basic hygiene.
Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20-seconds. You can use hand sanitiser as an alternative. Washing your hands with soap and water stops the coronavirus in its tracks. It makes sense to keep your hands clean anyway because imagine how many people handle cards, chips, and touch pokies buttons during any given day.
The next step is slightly more difficult to implement because you need to consciously think about it. Stop touching your face! Humans, on average, touch their faces 3.6 times per hour and common objects 3.3 times per hour.
Touching your face and mouth increases the chances of passing any virus or bug onto yourself.
Catch your cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of the tissue in a bin. Again, you should probably be doing this anyway out of courtesy.
Finally, you can leave the surgical masks at home. Some major retailers are selling out on basic surgical masks because people feel it offers protection from the coronavirus. There’s no scientific evidence it does, according to Dr. Charle Chiu of the University of California.