- »Star Casinos’ Restrictions Scaled Back
Star Casinos’ Restrictions Scaled Back
Photo by Markus Winkler.
Australia’s casinos are starting to get back to normal since coronavirus enforced closures have been lifted in many states.
Calvin Ayre reports the Star Entertainment Group, which shut down its properties in March in response to the pandemic, began to reopen its casinos in July, however, the number of gamblers allowed has been severely limited.
Star Entertainment is now ready to receive more guests at its Sydney and Brisbane venues.
The Star Sydney has been operating at a maximum capacity of 1800 guests but will be able to increase this to around 10,000 “based on the square meterage of the property”, starting next Monday.
That comes as the New South Wales government has backed off a restriction that limited casinos to just one patron every four square metres of gaming space.
From Monday, one patron will be allowed for every two square metres.
In Queensland, its relaxed COVID-19 policies have led to Star increasing capacity on the Gold Coast and at Treasury Brisbane.
The government made changes in mid-November that will mean it has the same two-metre restriction as in New South Wales, but the venues’ poker machines and gambling tables are now also going to be completely back in business.
All machines will be turned on and tables allowed to seat up to seven players, an increase from the previous four.
In addition, alcohol will make its way back to the gaming areas.
In light of the easing of restrictions, Star Entertainment is already making phone calls to furloughed workers to welcome them back to their old jobs.
It isn’t clear how many employees will be brought back, but with the Star going from 1800 to 10,000 patrons in Sydney, the venue will need substantial help.
The operator added in its statement: “The easing in operating restrictions across all three properties will enable us to welcome back additional employees as well as an increased number of our members and guests to safe and entertaining environments.”
Star toasts 35 years on the Gold Coast
The Star Gold Coast celebrated a milestone this week, its 35th anniversary since opening on November 23, 1985.
Originally called The Conrad Jupiters Casino and Resort, the establishment was renamed Jupiters Casino in 2010 before changing to The Star Gold Coast in 2017.
During the past three and a half decades, more than eight billion cards have been dealt in the casino, while guests have feasted on more than 24 million oysters in the property’s restaurants.
Thousands of world-renowned entertainers have taken to the stage in the casino’s theatre including Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, The Beach Boys, Rihanna and Mariah Carey.
The property recently embarked on a multimillion-dollar transformation involving one of the most extensive hotel refurbishments ever undertaken in Australia, the build of a new luxury suite hotel, a new poolside experience and an array of new, contemporary restaurants and bars.
Expansion is also set to continue as part of an approved $2 billion masterplan, including the construction of an additional four towers and associated world-class resort amenities.
The Star Gold Coast gaming operations manager Steve Hennessey was part of the property’s opening team and is one of a small contingent of team members who have been with the property since the beginning.
He says one of the significant changes he has observed in the past 35 years is the advancement of gaming technology.
“Technology has made a huge difference in the way we operate, from simple things like shuffling the cards,” Mr Hennessey said.
“When we first started, we had to shuffle them ourselves and now we have machines that can do it for us.
“When we first opened our doors, both guests and gaming management were able to smoke whilst working on the gaming floor, something you wouldn’t hear about today.