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Star turn: Brisbane casino performance leaves others in its dust

Business

Casino operator Star Group has produced a profit result that shows a stark contrast between NSW and Queensland and the way each state was impacted by COVID-19.

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And the performance could not be more different from its competitor Crown and the devastating impact of revelations of money laundering and poor governance from a NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry.

Earlier today, Crown reported a net loss of $120.9 million, down 155.4 per cent for the December half.

Star’s Sydney casino faced much harsher pandemic restrictions than those applied to its Treasury Casino in Brisbane and its Gold Coast operations.

Although all three sites were affected, Sydney’s domestic earnings before tax and other items were down 37 per cent, non-gaming revenue was down 64 per cent and hotel cash revenue was cut by 47 per cent. It had earnings before interest and tax of $45 million, down 66 per cent.

In contrast, Brisbane’s normalised earnings were up 29 per cent to $68 million. Domestic earnings before tax and other items were up 34 per cent and slots revenue increased 7 per cent. EBIT was $53 million, an increase of 37 per cent.

The construction of the massive Queen’s Wharf project in Brisbane has been so far unaffected by the pandemic restrictions.

The Gold Coast was more affected because of the greater reliance on international visitors. Its normalised earnings before tax and other items were down 20 per cent to $51 million. Its non-gaming revenue also took a negative 45 per cent hit.

Its earnings before interest and tax were $20 million, down 43 per cent.

The overall Star Group net profit for the half was $51 million, a fall of 33 per cent. No dividend was declared.

The company said its equity contributions to the construction of Queen’s Wharf would end in the third quarter of this financial year and project debt drawdowns would commence.

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