The Star Entertainment Group lifted almost all restrictions related to the new covid-19 coronavirus at its largest casino in Sydney. The Australian casino operator announced this week that it will serve up to 5,000 customers at its New South Wales capital. It also indicated that he will follow the protocols dictated by the local authorities to maintain a minimum space of 4 m2 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. Since then the casino has only opened 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 games stalls and electronic games machines may also operate on the property, respecting the personal distance of 1.5 meters from each other.

The Star is scheduled to open its two Queensland properties since Friday, July 3: Gold Coast and Brisbane. The Brisbane casino has a maximum capacity of 2,300 people, while the Gold Coast casino has 2,600, considering the distance requirements between people.

More income, more jobs

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

Bekier noted that 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 (fiscal H1). However, the recorded H1 VIP win rate was the lowest in the company’s history. But, 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 travelers.

For its part, Crown Resorts, the national competitor of The Star, recently also reopened its Crown Perth casino on a limited basis. Its Melbourne property is still closed until covid-19 cases in the state of Victoria decline.


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