March 22, 2020 / 10:04 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-SkyCity Entertainment to shut Australian casino, prepares for closures in New Zealand

(Adds details on Australian government measures, details of casino closures)

March 23 (Reuters) - SkyCity Entertainment Group said on Monday it would shut its casino in Adelaide in line with an Australian government order and was preparing for the likely closure of properties in New Zealand to try to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The casino operator also withdrew its full-year earnings forecast, and said it was assessing what the closures would mean for its 1,000 employees in Adelaide and 4,000 in New Zealand.

The number of coronavirus cases in Australia has risen sharply in recent days, and prompted the government to take stricter measures to stem the outbreak, including orders to close pubs, cinemas, churches and casinos.

Chief Executive Officer Graeme Stephens said the company was in talks with unions in South Australia and expected to come up with a plan by next week.

SkyCity will continue work on its Adelaide expansion project.

For now, SkyCity said its properties in New Zealand would remain open at the current COVID-19 alert level, but preparations were being made in the event the level was raised.

“We are working through what the implications may be for our 4,000 employees in New Zealand,” Stephens said. (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)

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