Marina Bay Sands virus cluster grows

By William Brown Updated
Details emerge about Marina Bay Sands’ Singapore expansion

A cluster of coronavirus cases associated with Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands has grown.

GGR Asia reports that Singapore health authorities have added five cases to the cluster of infections linked to the casino, which is now at 40.

The information disclosed by the Ministry of Health did not provide detail on the five new cases, namely whether they were either people that worked on the gaming floor or gamblers that had visited the property recently.

The casino complex is operated by a subsidiary of international casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The property said in a statement in mid-July that it was “temporarily closing” its casino for “deep cleaning” with effect from July 22.

That was following detection of COVID-19 cases involving individuals “who worked in or visited” the gaming venue.

The gaming venue will be closed to the public until August 5.

Marina Bay Sands said it had an “enhanced polymerase chain reaction testing regime for all team members working on property.”

Routine testing “takes place every 14 or 28 days, based on job profiles and risk exposure,” it said.

Singapore is home to a casino duopoly, with the other casino, Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Genting Singapore.

It said that it continues to maintain “reduced guest capacity” for its gaming operations from July 22 until August 18.

Capacity restrictions at Resorts World Sentosa would also apply to a number of non-gaming attractions.

Marina Bay Sands closure comes after capacity recently increased at table games

Marina Bay Sands has been forced to close its doors soon after it doubled the number of people that could use its table games.

Four players were permitted per gaming table, doubling the two-player per table rule introduced in May.

According to information supplied by the Singapore Tourism Board, the venues’ electronic gaming machines and poker machines can be utilised, but with only one player seated at each machine.

Other restrictions include at least one metre distance between all individuals on the casino floor and a requirement to wear a mask, except when eating, drinking or smoking.

“Strict checks are conducted by the Singapore Tourism Board to ensure that casinos provide a safe environment for their guests and staff, in line with prevailing safe management measures,” the Singapore Tourism Board said.

While those measures are set to remain in place until next month, the Singapore government announced Sunday that it would further ease some other restrictions as of Monday 21 June, with restaurants now allowed to welcome back dine-in guests, albeit in groups of no more than two.

Gyms and fitness studios are also allowed to reopen with limits on group and class sizes.

Japan outlines preferred casino games

In April, Japan outlined nine games that have been given permission to operate inside the country’s future casinos.

The nine games within the draft regulations include 21 variants of games currently banned in Japan, but set to be legalised as part of the government’s integrated resort plans.

The nine games are two types of baccarat, four types of blackjack, eight types of poker, Sic Bo, craps, Casino War, money wheel and pai gow, plus electronic games.

The regulations also call for prior background checks on all major stakeholders and executives of casino and integrated resort operators to ensure “social credibility”.

This will include detailed investigations into criminal and financial records, as well as whether there are any links to organised crime.

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