Aussie casinos and gambling venues comply with COVID-19 restrictions

By William Brown Updated
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Australian gambling company Star Entertainment announced it was lifting its restrictions in the beginning of July, after reopening on a restricted basis from June 1.

Kalkine Media reports The Star Sydney has continued to operate following guidelines from the New South Wales public health team, allowing a minimum of four square metres per patron, with a maximum capacity of 300 customers per area.

The Star is implementing the new restrictions on its day to day procedures, with its area of 20,000 square metres.

In the last restrictions, the casino will be prioritising its visitation by its highest-value customers.

The Star was also in talks with the government over developing a second casino on the Gold Coast.

The Queensland government ultimately decided to end this process, pertaining to disastrous coronavirus impacts on the country.

With the global market conditions impacting investment decisions, the government stated they are no longer following the dream of creating a Global Tourism Hub, along with a second casino in the Gold Coast.

Star Entertainment had offered the government to give them a monopoly over casinos in the region, with the company to invest $2 billion in infrastructure.

Despite failing to reach an agreement, the Star believes its $2 billion investment will not only help tourism, but also the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tabcorp announces board change

Tabcorp, Australia’s diversified gambling entertainment company, is one of the largest providers of lotteries, Keno, wagering and gaming products and services in Australia.

Tabcorp is the market leader in Australian wagering, with more than three million registered customers.

They have more than 9,000 venues in Australia.

On July 23, Tabcorp announced its board chair, Paula Dwyer would retire on December 31.

Steven Grigg was announced as a replacement, having been a Tabcorp director since 2012.

Star lifts virtually all restrictions at casinos

Star Entertainment Group has lifted almost all restrictions related to the new COVID-19 pandemic at its largest casino in Sydney.

Tunf reported in early July the Australian casino operator announced this week that it will serve up to 5,000 customers at its New South Wales casino.

It also indicated that it will follow the protocols dictated by local authorities to maintain a minimum space of four square metres per person.

The Sydney casino was reopened on a limited basis on June 1 after being closed since mid-march to reduce the spread of the virus.

It could only gather up to 500 members of its loyalty rewards program when it initially reopened.

Since then, the casino has only operated its ‘private gaming rooms’ focused on VIP customers as well as various food and beverage outlets.

From now on, The Star will cater to loyalty club members, their special guests and the general public.

Table game stalls and electronic gaming machines may also operate on the property, respecting the distance requirements.

The Star’s two Queensland properties reopened on Friday in Gold Coast and Brisbane.

The Brisbane casino now boasts a maximum capacity of 2,300 people, while the Gold Coast casino can cater for 2,600 people.

According to Star’s chief executive Matt Bekier, the “conservative approach” employed in the reopening of The Star Sydney gave the company “more confidence in our safety and operating procedures.”

Mr Bekier noted the company will now be able to “welcome approximately 3,000 additional employees.”

After the closing order issued in March, the company laid off 8,100 employees.

Sydney casino performance increased significantly after New South Wales authorities allowed The Star to serve more customers.

Since June 19, the limit has been raised to 900 guests, so on average the daily rotation of tables and slot machines was “comparable to the levels of the private 1H FY2020 arcade.

Likewise, the average expenditure per person was “materially higher” compared to the average for the property during the first half of the first semester.

However, the recorded H1 VIP win rate was the lowest in the company’s history.

The overall performance of the casino was “significantly lower than normal levels given the operating restrictions.”

The new Sovereign room for international VIPs at the Sydney casino was originally believed to be ready to open in May, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented this.

Its opening was rescheduled for July 3 and a formal opening in August.

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