Star aware VIP business return will be slow

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
Australia-China tensions don?t concern Star CEO

Star Entertainment is aware that international VIP business at its casinos will require even more time to fully recover.

Tunf reports Star chief executive Matt Bekier stated this business “is stolen” and may need another year.

For this reason, the company decided to sell one of its private jets and abandon its “VIP motor yacht” for now.

The company is handling only five per cent of normal VIP volume, Mr Bekier said, who explained some of the casino’s former clients “just don’t feel comfortable coming back to private places.”

However, he said that those who return now are “spending more”.

The Sydney casino is currently operating at full capacity but with some restrictions, which “bodes well that restrictions have been eased,” Mr Bekier added.

The Australian casino operator reported bumper losses due to the closure of gambling venues to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Its results released this week showed revenue of around A$1.5 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, a 31 per cent drop compared to the same period a year ago.

In all, a loss of A$94 million was reported by Star.

Australian casinos report “normalised” results, where there appeared to be no variation from VIP gambling, with reported revenue only declining 21 per cent to A$1.8 billion.

Star’s managing director John O’Neill said the company made record profits during the period of July 2019 to February 2020.

The company’s balance sheet shows the overall VIP gaming revenue fell 51 per cent in 2019 to A$285 million.

The Sydney property’s contribution was A$262 million, despite the casino getting a slight win in its VIP win.

The Star failed to achieve a 30-year monopoly on the Gold Coast, but it has control of gaming machines in Sydney for the same period.

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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