Star CEO lists Sydney mansion for sale

By Noah Taylor Updated
Star CEO lists Sydney mansion for sale

As Sydney’s Star Casino was being deep cleaned last week following a patron’s positive COVID-19 test, the group’s chief executive, Matt Bekier, was also busy on the home front.

The Australian Financial Review reports that Mr Bekier listed his Vaucluse mansion at the weekend for $7.5 million to $8.2 million.

The three-level residence, complete with pool, home cinema, rumpus room, library, formal and informal living areas was purchased by Bekier’s wife Melinda in 2012 for $4.05 million from former rugby league player turned hotelier Steve Bowder.

It returned to the market with Raine and Horne Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay’s Samue; Shuman and Luke Hogan.

Despite Star Entertainment being fined $5,000 for breaching public health orders last Monday, the group’s fortunes have endured the economic fallout of the pandemic better than expected.

Most of its punters are from domestic trade and both the Sydney flagship casino and the Brisbane and Gold Coast casinos remain open, albeit at 50 per cent capacity.

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 earlier this month 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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