- »Crown to Ban Indoor Smoking by End of 2022
Crown to Ban Indoor Smoking by End of 2022
A ban on indoor smoking will occur at all of Crown Resorts’ Australian gaming floors by the end of 2022.
Asgam reports the transition would primarily impact Crown’s premium gaming areas, which currently permit smoking in certain areas with appropriate air filtration technology.
Crown said it would make some premium gaming areas at its Australian casinos in Melbourne and Perth smoke-free immediately, while the remainder would undergo a transition period as outdoor smoking areas were installed.
“We are committed to responding to community sentiment and expectations regarding smoking,” executive chairman Helen Coonan.
“Crown’s decision to phase out indoor smoking at its properties has been made in response to those shifting expectations.
“The health and safety of our employees, guests and the community are our priority.”
Crown’s premium gaming operations have been at the heart of its recent woes after the recent NSW Bergin inquiry uncovered evidence that VIP rooms and bank accounts in Melbourne and Perth were likely used for money laundering.
The company has since permanently ceased all activity with junket operators, while the regulator in WA issued a directive banning Crown Perth from participating in the conduct of junkets, premium player activity or privileged player activity.
The government’s of Victoria and WA have also announced they will run separate royal commissions into Crown’s suitability to retain their respective state casino licences.
Crown halts VIP room smoking in Melbourne amid dealers’ concerns
Fears for its staff’s safety has prompted Crown Resorts to ban its high rollers from smoking cigarettes and cigars in enclosed VIP areas.
The New Daily reported in November that the last-minute backflip occurred after complaints from Melbourne workers, who were worried about catching COVID-19 from smokers coughing and exhaling in their faces as they dealt cards.
A Crown spokesperson said: “We will ask customers to step outside to smoke as part of Crown’s cautious and gradual progression towards COVID normal.”
“We will reassess this again with the benefit of revised government directions next month.”
Coronavirus concerns were raised on Sunday when Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced casinos would be allowed to reopen from Monday under a further easing of lockdown restrictions.
Under the new rules, Crown’s Melbourne casino was now allowed up to 1000 patrons, with table games like blackjack and baccarat set to restart on Wednesday when the venue officially reopens.
Under a special legal exemption, big-spending high rollers are allowed to smoke while gambling in VIP areas to enable what Crown calls “significant international play”.
These people aren’t just regular gamblers, but what dealers call high net worth individuals, who can spend up to $500,000 in a single hand.
Even without a global pandemic, many dealers resented having to breathe in gamblers’ second-hand smoke, which can cause long-term respiratory issues later in life.
In October, Star Entertainment Group, owners of Treasury Casino and Star Casino on the Gold Coast and in Sydney moved to ban indoor smoking at its venues by 2023.
Only the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania have banned smoking in all enclosed areas of casinos, including high roller rooms.
Dealers at Crown hope the company follows suit.
Steven, an experienced dealer who did not wish to use his real name over the fear of losing his job, had been begging Crown to ban indoor smoking over the fear of inhaling virus-infected droplets while working.
“It makes me feel really uncomfortable,” he said.
“My biggest fear is we reopen in the next couple of days and then someone contracts COVID at Crown, the whole complex is shut down again and that leads to another shutdown in the state.”