Focus on Asia: The industry reopens into its ‘new normal’ By Ben Blaschke, Managing Editor, Inside Asian Gaming August 4, 2020 at 2:45 pm We’re barely weeks into the first stages of reopening the global land-based gaming industry and already we are seeing instances of what is inevitably going to be our “new normal” for the foreseeable future. In Australia, it took just three days after The Star Sydney reopened on 1 July to find its name in the media after it was confirmed a patron who later tested positive to COVID-19 had visited the property. Around the same time, Singapore’s Ministry of Health released a list of locations known to have been visited by COVID patients, with the casino at Marina Bay Sands among them. Resorts World Sentosa joined its neighbor on the list a few days later. In Manila, gaming regulator PAGCOR shut down Casino Filipino in Angeles City after three staff tested positive to COVID-19, while in Hong Kong an employee of Hong Kong Jockey Club also tested positive, sending her co-workers into 14-day quarantine. While the cases have so far been relatively few and far between, it is inevitable given the nature of the current pandemic that more instances of COVID creeping onto our gaming floors will make headlines. But it’s important that we maintain a sense of calm when it does happen. In both Australia and Singapore, authorities reacted quickly and efficiently in assuring the general public that all locations were currently operating under COVID-safe measures – which include social distancing and regular deep cleaning – and rightly noting there was no need to take any further drastic steps. In the Philippines, PAGCOR showed more caution due to the fact the cases were not isolated. It will, however, be interesting to see how authorities in Macau react should a similar situation emerge in any of its casinos or integrated resorts. The world’s casino hub has done a remarkable job in limiting the number of COVID cases since the start of the pandemic to just 46 at time of writing – shutting the borders early and taking all precautions to keep citizens safe. Now, with borders starting to reopen again, it is highly likely that isolated cases occur at some stage in the coming months despite the strict health and safety measures in place. Let’s hope that, when they do, calm heads prevail.