Star signs agreement to be the only NSW casino with pokies

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
Star spends big on hotel upgrades

Star Entertainment has reached an agreement with the New South Wales government to set the casino tax rates from 2022 until 2041.

Share Cafe reports Star Entertainment is to remain the sole casino with pokies machines in New South Wales during this time, unless compensated.

Credit Suisse suggests this is positive for the company’s earnings.

The casino group hasn’t let the coronavirus pandemic dampen its project pipeline.

Casino Aus reports that the company executed its funding agreements with its project partners, securing $1.6 billion in debt funding, the first of it to be used next month.

The Star did this in joint partnership with David Chiu’s Far East Consortium and Henry Cheong’s Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.

The terms of the agreement were determined prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, which means the financials and terms reflect the market conditions at the time.

All necessary conditions for the funding, including the final approval of the Queensland government, should be completed next month.

Once complete, the joint partnership will take the first draw-down on the finding, the rest remaining for construction that is set to begin in early 2021.

In total, the group’s funding is a 5.5-year agreement with three years of operations allowed before refinancing.

New Queensland development expected to open in 2022

The Queensland government initially approved the Queen’s Wharf development in late 2017.

Part of the new development is expected to open in 2022.

Originally thought to be a $3 billion project, the Destination Brisbane Consortium wanted to build an entire new residential complex, restaurants and bars, hotels, casino, and retail space.

Covering 27.3 hectares of land and across water along the Brisbane River, the project would use some existing buildings and build new structures, ultimately connecting it all to the South Bank Parklands across the river, with a pedestrian bridge.

Construction crews finally broke ground on the project on March 8, 2018.

The Star expects to open at least part of the project by 2022.

The last update before the pandemic indicated Fitzgerald Constructions Australia was prepared to start the construction of the Neville Bonner Bridge, which will connect South Bank to the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane.

While some of that progress was stifled by the shutdowns surrounding the pandemic, workers do have a schedule that started this month.

They will be working at night during May and June “while critical work is undertaken and to achieve required social distancing practices due to COVID-19.”

Since the start of the project, the property took on a bit more size and scope, increasing its value to $3.6 billion.

The 2022 launch date could be pushed back further to 2023 if the pandemic shutdown impacts the project more severely.

At the time of the first opening, the landing and wharf facilities will be the first to open.

At least some of the residential apartments will be for sale and prepared for residents to move in, and at least some of the thousand-plus hotel rooms will be open for guests.

It is unclear if the new ballroom will open at that time.

Though it is not currently known if the casino will be a part of the grand opening, the move from the Treasury building to the fifth level of the arc-shaped building in Queen’s Wharf will be complete.

The gaming floor will comprise less than five per cent of the overall development and will be a state-of-the-art facility.

The details of the casino development are not a current focus of the project’s coordinators.

The Star believes Queen’s Wharf will create about 8000 jobs once the integrated resort is fully operational.

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