Racing in Victoria looks unlikely to succumb to a government shutdown anytime soon after Victorian premier Daniel Andrews again threw his support behind the industry.
Besides a 36-hour shutdown while jockey Mark Zahra was tested for coronavirus following a potential interaction with a confirmed positive, racing has been able to proceed in Victoria under strict social distancing protocols.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Credit:AAP
"I'm not a big racegoer myself but many people derive a lot of enjoyment from that," he said.
"And there's not a lot of that [enjoyment] going around at the moment.
"I've had it put to me that some people are getting quite a lot out of the fact that racing is going ahead in a limited form."
Andrews said the main driver behind racing's exemption was protecting the 25,000 full-time jobs in Victoria, and not the revenue derived from gambling.
"There [are] a lot people working in that industry," he said.
"And, again, it's making that difficult choice, the balance between what would be the public health benefit? Can you manage the risk?
"Clearly with an example like say building, the massive construction sector. We believe we can manage those risks. The moment I get advice that we can't then of course we will take further steps.
"But on gambling revenue … there was an exemption provided to Crown for a short period of time.
"The moment the Chief Health Officer was no longer confident that Crown could deliver and be safe and manage the risks of that sort of environment, that exemption was withdrawn and the casino floor closed."
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