- »The District at SkyCity Adelaide Expansion Brings New Jobs
The District at SkyCity Adelaide Expansion Brings New Jobs
South Australia has not been nearly as hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as states like New South Wales and Victoria. The former was the hot spot in Australia during the initial outbreak in March and April, but the new surge is focusing on Victoria. SA ranks fifth of the territories to date and has seen only a handful of cases in the past month.
That low rate in SA is what enabled SkyCity Adelaide to push forward with its reopening to include casino business. And as it continues to welcome more customers, the District at SkyCity is also moving on with its expansion.
With the openings in progress and looming, SkyCity made known that it will need about 700 new workers for its $330 million expansion called the District at SkyCity. This will staff four new restaurants and two new bars.
Reopening Adelaide Casino
SkyCity Entertainment officially unlocked the doors of its Adelaide Casino on June 29, 2020, after having closed on March 23 per the Australian government’s orders. The casino opening was a part of Stage Three of South Australia’s reopening plan.
It was far from an unconditional reopening, though. They welcomed Premier Rewards members only, and the operating hours were limited. SkyCity implemented physical distancing measures, increasing cleaning protocols, provided hand sanitizer to all guests and employees, and provided additional training for employees. The casino also set up a contact tracing system.
SkyCity Adelaide General Manager David Christian noted that the plan was a comprehensive one to ensure the safety of staff and guests. “With a workforce of more than 1,200 South Australians, our priority has remained getting our team back to work safely as we enter a historic period for SkyCity with the opening of our expansion and hotel later in 2020.”
On July 9, Casino Adelaide announced that it would open its doors wider. The general public could enter, though they were required to sign up for the rewards program in order to gain access. That process began on July 12.
There was a brief suspension of new signups on a few dates – July 20, 25, and 26 – due to the expectation of larger crowds to watch AFL matches. Otherwise, the reopening continued.
No Poker Indefinitely
The exception to the opening was one part of the casino – the poker room. It is called the Poker Zone, but it was one important part of the property that did not open with the rest of the casino. It is on an indefinite hold.
The website provides no details of poker plans. However, this is the situation in most places in Australia. For example, The Star Sydney just announced last week that its poker room will remain closed through the rest of 2020.
Why poker? The game involves a necessary amount of exchanged goods and interactions, many of which cannot be rearranged to allow for social distancing or sanitizing properly. Players all touch the cards and chips, as does the dealer. While tables could play short-handed – with only five or six players at each one – but that doesn’t resolve the chips and cards problem.
Adelaide Casino Expansion
The original property opened in December 1985 on the north edge of the Adelaide city centre in the old railway station building. Adelaide Casino grew consistently through the 1990s, and SkyCity Entertainment Group bought it in the summer of 2000.
Some of the biggest area renovations happened in 2014 and 2015, but SkyCity announced a massive expansion in 2017. With the South Australian government’s approval, SkyCity announced a $330 million development to transform the Adelaide Casino into a “world-class entertainment hub on the Festival Plaza forecourt, adjacent to the Torrens River.” It was to be a part of the larger Festival Plaza redevelopment.
Construction began in early 2018 with an anticipated completion in 2020.
Everything moved along as a project of that size would do, all with the goal of a 2020 grand opening in mind. And then the pandemic hit.
Covid Can’t Stop This Train
Despite the shutdowns that started in March, work did continue on the project, as the Australian government deemed construction as essential work. SkyCity didn’t lose any time on the expansion, reporting that it progressed on budget and on time.
SkyCity launched Eos by SkyCity and began accepting bookings for the 120-room luxury hotel. And just earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with Pirate Life to set up a fully-functional microbrewery inside the District at SkyCity. The Pirate Life microbrewery will share Level 1 space with the Sports Bar and Poker Zone and Bistro, alongside live entertainment.
The project has created nearly 1,000 jobs during the construction and just started the recruitment process for 700 employees for the entire property. Some of those roles will continue through the middle of 2021 and others will continue indefinitely.
Even more, the SkyCity Online Casino is operating successfully and trading positively. Customer registrations for the online gaming platform accumulated quickly and now stand at more than 15,000.