It’s official – Australia’s live poker scene is dead and buried. For now, at least.
After a week in which Australia’s casino operators resisted calls from some quarters to close their doors amid social distancing measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus, the Australian government made the decision for them on Sunday by announcing a nationwide shutdown of all non-essential services, including casinos, bars, pubs and clubs, for an unspecified length of time.
The shutdown, which officially came into effect at midday on Monday, has dealt a crushing blow to Australia’s poker industry with all casino poker rooms now closed and pub poker leagues on indefinite hold.
Neither Crown Resorts, operator of Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, nor Star Entertainment Group, which runs The Star Sydney, The Star Gold Coast and Brisbane’s Treasury Casino, had commented publicly as of Monday afternoon although SkyCity Entertainment Group confirmed it had closed Adelaide Casino. SkyCity also announced the closure of its three New Zealand casinos in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown effective immediately after the New Zealand government raised the COVID-19 alert level to Level 3 and flagged its intention to further raise to Level 4 within the next 48 hours, mandating the closure of all non-essential services.
The APL, NPL and WPT League were among the pub poker leagues to issue statements on Monday detailing the cancellation of all events nationwide until further notice.
The Australian Poker Tour has already cancelled its APT Sydney event scheduled for April while Poker Palace has also closed its doors following cancellation of the Marconi Cup Carnival.
Only time will tell when Australia deals its next hand.