Aussie punters looking to take a break from online gambling, were delighted to see the reopening of Star Sydney on 1 July, despite the expected changes due to COVID-19 regulations imposed by Liquor & Gaming NSW. Transgression of these regulations will naturally result in some form of punishment.
Less than a week after opening, Star Sydney has been hit with one such fine after allowing patrons to stand and mingle while consuming alcohol when the regulations clearly state that they must be seated. This infraction earned the venue a $5000 fine.
Third time unlucky
Liquor Gaming NSW had paid two previous visits to Star Sydney to check on the state of their compliance and members of staff were reminded of the measures they were expected to enforce. Compliance director Dimitri Argeres stated that The Star was “aware of its obligations.”
The fact that staff had to be re-informed during the first two visits suggests that infractions were observed at those times with the third violation ultimately resulting in the regulator taking decisive action and issuing a penalty.
Fining a casino $5000 is unlikely to cause a huge impact on the business; however, this is only one of many potential penalties rule-breakers could face. Liquor & Gaming NSW have been empowered to conduct surprise and undercover investigations at their discretion with the authority to issue spot fines where deemed necessary.
Individuals can face fines of up to $11 000 and/or six months in jail for defying regulations while businesses can be hit with fines of up to $55 000 per violation and an additional $27 500 fine per day until the issue is resolved.
Any financial penalties pale in comparison to the prospect of Star Sydney being forced to close its doors again, which became a frightening possibility when a guest recently tested positive for COVID-19. The individual in question, a male patron, visited the casino on 4 July from 19:30 to 22:30 and did not display any detectable symptoms at the time. While he mostly stuck to his group of friends, even casual contact with another individual could have spread the virus to them.
This scare comes in the wake of the venue recently increasing their capacity to 5000 patrons after having only being able to serve VIP clientele as per the rules of their initial, partial reopening.
Sydney’s COVID surge
Australia seems to be on the brink of finally nullifying the coronavirus, however, there are still pockets of infections that flare-up. Sydney’s Picton Hotel had to close to perform a deep-cleaning after discovering that an infected individual had been at the game room on its premises on the 4th, 9th, and 10th of July.
The Canterbury League Club was obliged to reach out to staff and patrons to inform them they may have been infected after a customer who visited the venue on 4 July between 11 pm and 2 am tested positive.
A concerning tale has also emerged from the Crossroads Hotel in southwest Sydney, where a cluster of about 20 cases was traced back to the venue’s pub. Officials revealed that 10 were infected at the pub itself while a further 11 occurred from people making contact with these individuals. Anyone who may have visited the pub between 3 July and 10 July has been urged to self-isolate.