COVID-19 Puts Financial Strain on Australian Casino Industry

When COVID-19 became a global issue back in March, the entire world was affected. Businesses shut down and people stayed home in order to avoid becoming infected with the deadly disease. While essential businesses like grocery stores remained open, those considered non-essential, did not. Casinos fall into the non-essential category and in countries like Australia, the closure of gaming facilities had a huge effect on the economy. According to the results of recent data, Australia lost over AU$14 million a day when the casinos were not in operation.

Hard Hit Casino Sector

When compared to the world’s gambling sectors, Australia was the 5th worst when it comes to the effects of the coronavirus. Casinos in the country contribute millions to the economy and it was found that a total of $14.2 million was lost per day during the closure. This is equal to $10.5 million in USD. The number one spot went to Nevada, who generated over $33 million in losses daily.

A study conducted on the gambling industry figured that on average, the 20 casinos in Australia usually bring in $7152 every minute. This is a staggering amount of money and shows just how much the casino industry can generate on a regular basis.

Casinos in the country are still trying to cope with the impact of the virus. Revenues are not coming in like they normally would be due to lower operating capacity and a decreased number of visitors.

While retail outlets were closed, online gambling was picking up the slack. Players were logging on in record numbers due to having nowhere to go safely outside the home. The National Australia Bank showed transaction data in June that indicated players in Australia spend just over 62% more on online gambling than they did within the same period last year.

Affected Operators

One Australian operator that was majorly affected by the COVID-19 closures was the Star Entertainment Group. In recent revenue reports, Star showed a loss of AU$95 million ($67.9mUS) within the 12 months ending on June 30.

Revenues were down 31% when compared to year over year. The operator’s Sydney and Queensland casinos were shut down during the pandemic and led to the large drop in revenues. Revenue was still down before the pandemic, but the company was generating a profit.

Crown Resorts also saw a profit drop due to the pandemic. The company’s net profit fell 80% during the same period down to AU$79.5 million ($56.8 million USD) from AU$401.8 million ($287.3 million USD). The company relies heavily on international travelers and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have led to a large decrease in patrons.

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