The Star Entertainment Group announced it would ramp up operations at its casino properties in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, following the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions in the Australian states.
New South Wales
In an update to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), The Star referred to the latest announcement from the NSW Government regarding the restrictions applicable to larger hospitality venues like The Star Sydney, effective Monday, December 7.
Capacity restrictions for the casino operator will ease from the effective now rule of 4 square meters per person in the premises changing to 2 square meters, which, together with the removal of the 300 patrons per area cap will allow The Star to increase the number of guests from 1,800 maximum at the moment, to approximately 10,000 next week. The requirements regarding spatial distance between different gaming positions will remain in force.
Besides the NSW Government, authorities in Queensland also introduced some easing regarding indoor areas of hospitality venues like The Star Gold Coast casino property. Effective November 17, the government amended the 4 square meters per person rule to 2, allowing the casino operator to let more people in.
Besides increasing the number of people in the premises, officials removed the requirement for every even slot machine being switched off to provide for physical distance between players, allowing The Star to utilize all of its gaming machines.
Table games restrictions were also affected as the maximum number of players per table was hiked from 4 to 7, while the ban on drinking inside the casino while standing was removed.
Starting December 1, Queensland re-opened its border to residents of Greater Sydney and Victoria, which is expected to be supportive of enhancing visitations to The Star Gold Coast casino.
Bringing Back Employees
The easing across The Star casino properties is seen as a step in the right direction which will allow the casino operator to bring back a number of employees it had to either place on temporary leave or lay off due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the related lockdowns.
The casino operator was materially affected by the imposed closures on casino properties and, having failed to reach an agreement regarding compensation from its insurer, Chubbs Insurance, The Star filed a complaint in federal court in August.
The Star claimed that it was entitled to indemnity under the active insurance policy due to the ongoing economic loss in terms of a reduction in turnover and gross revenue, as well as an increased cost of working, a claim the insurer seemed to have dismissed.