Queensland government says no to second casino

By William Brown Updated
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The Star and Queensland government have thwarted a second casino proposal in the Sunshine State, with the coronavirus pandemic having an enormous impact on businesses around the world.

Casino Aus reported the government decided now isn’t the best time to move forward with plans for a second casino.

The Star Entertainment Group will have to focus on its properties that have lost months of revenue during COVID-19 shutdowns, saving plans for a second casino in Queensland for another time.

Always wanting to expand and grow, Star announced its plans for the project in 2018.

The company said it would invest more than $2 billion into improvements to make the resort on Broadbeach Island an even bigger and more comprehensive property.

At the point of this proposal, Star had already invested $7 billion.

It wanted to add four additional towers for about 3,000 more hotel rooms and apartments, some new restaurants and bars, and new retail stores and resort facilities.

According to chief executive Matt Bekier, “The masterplan in its entirety would see The Star Gold Coast boast more tourism accommodation than any other resort in Australia.”

Partners Chow Tai Fook Enterprises out of Hong Kong and the Far East Consortium were the two major joint venture partners in the deal.

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 July that 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.

Although Australia recently said it will likely keep its borders closed until 2021 for international travellers.

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