Poker leagues publish new “Play Safe – Poker NSW COVID-19 Safety Plan” in bid to resurrect industry

The poker industry in NSW has rallied together to bring back live games just a week after NSW Police ordered a statewide shutdown.

As reported by PokerMedia Australia on Tuesday, the Australian Poker League (APL), in partnership with the WPT League and the National Poker League (NPL), has been at the forefront of establishing an industry accord known as the “Play Safe – Poker NSW COVID-19 Safety Plan.”

Released earlier today, the five-page document amalgamates many of the hygiene and distancing initiatives already in place prior to last Friday’s announcement and are designed to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 when operating tournaments in licensed venues.

Naturally, members of the “Play Safe – Poker NSW” accord are hopeful that this comprehensive set of guidelines will be adopted by every league franchisee and card room operator across the entire state.

The accord does not, however, mean that authorities will (or will not) give the green light for poker to return.

Some of the key factors outlined in the 12-point plan include:

  • Undertaking of infection control training for Tournament Directors;
  • Conducting six-handed tournaments within set room capacity guidelines, under the “one person per four square metre” rule;
  • Temperature checks and contact tracing information taken from all players upon registration;
  • Thorough cleaning and sanitation of tables, chairs and equipment before, during and after each event, and;
  • Mandatory use of facial coverings by players and staff.

Amongst those to have thrown their support behind the initiative include are Kings Poker, Big Boyz Poker, the Ultimate Poker Tour, Pokermania and the Poker Palace at Club Marconi.

The industry has also received political support via the NSW Liberal Democratic Party, claiming in a statement on their Facebook page that poker leagues had contacted NSW Health as far back as June to establish guidelines prior to resuming events, only to be told that the onus was on them “to employ reasonable COVID safety steps.”

This also affirms that there was no uniform position on poker events established by authorities prior to the shutdown and that poker operators were acting on advice as per their local police command, as previously reported by PMA.

All poker players and industry representatives are encouraged to register their support via the Poker NSW website, which will be formally submitted to authorities on Monday.

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