Covid restrictions led to the transformation of pub gaming rooms across Australia, but with the easing of density restrictions, will things ever fully go back to the way they were?

PKD director Paul Kelly, who has been involved in over 100 gaming room renovation projects including a standalone gaming room at The Entrance Hotel (pictured), believes some of the changes will stick.

When Covid first hit, he said, machines were split apart and spread out as operators set about trying to interpret the 1.5m rule in a gaming room scenario.

“Usually, gaming machines sit on a 1000 or 1200-wide base, which equals a 0.5m space between the chairs.”

To be safe, Kelly says, most interpreted the 1.5m distance as between chairs which meant the rooms had to be expanded to maintain revenue.

According to Kelly, gaming patrons liked the extra space, so although there is no longer a regulatory reason to maintain the space between machines, many venues are keeping the machines more spaced out – but not the full 1.5m as some patrons like to play two games at the same time.

“We’re now seeing rooms remaining at a medium width apart, which still keeps the energy in room,” he says. This change in turn requires larger gaming rooms.

“Gaming rooms are becoming even larger than they were before,” he says. “Venue operators are taking space from other areas to enable the expansion.”

Want to keep reading? Read the rest of the article below in the June issue of Australian Hotelier.

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