to bulk up Star casino ahead of Crown threat, By Perry
Williams - 25th May 2015
Hawkins, managing director of Echo Entertainment's
The Star, says the casino's hotels are running at
90 per cent capacity. Photo: Christopher Pearce
Echo Entertainment is developing a masterplan to add
new hotel rooms and expand its gaming offering at
The Star casino in Sydney ahead of the opening of
James Packer's $2 billion Crown Resorts development
at Barangaroo in 2019.
Star managing director Greg Hawkins, who was poached
from his role running Crown's Melbourne casino last
year, said the casino was studying how to increase
its hotel offering in the next five years in a bid
to gain greater customer loyalty.
Star has just 650 rooms compared with more than 1600
rooms at Crown Melbourne and Mr Hawkins said there
was momentum to boost its offering.
many benchmarks of comparison, our total room base
of 650 is low," Mr Hawkins said. "I think
we can build the number of hotel rooms within an appropriately
presented vision for the property and we are working
our way through that with various authorities."
Hawkins said no decision had been made on whether
a new hotel might be created within The Star property
or whether additional rooms could be added on its
existing Astral Tower or Darling hotels.
still early days of thinking that through," said
Mr Hawkins. "But having more customers based
on site is what these integrated resorts are all about
so we are able to drive utilisation of our non-gaming
and gaming amenities. Our hotels here are run at about
90 per cent capacity so they're full, but the more
people we can drive from a domestic perspective to
stay at the property is important."
Packer's Crown has won the right to operate a high-end
casino at the Barangaroo development precinct on the
western edge of Sydney's central business district
from November 2019, which is when the exclusivity
period on Echo's licence runs out.
response The Star is spending $500 million in capital
works over the next five years in addition to a recently
completed $870 million refurbishment.
private gaming rooms have recently opened on Level
17 of The Star while new food and beverage outlets
will also be developed.
Hawkins said while The Star is capped on the number
of poker machines it can offer, it can install as
many gaming tables as the gaming floor allows.
not capped on manual table games or multi-terminal
gaming machines so they present expansionary opportunities
for us," Mr Hawkins said. "We're certainly
looking at further development of the casino floor
here to reflect the optimisation of gaming as well."
Crown Sydney resort will be permitted to have unlimited
"multi-terminal gaming machines"
or fully automated table games without a croupier,
with minimum bets of $20 for blackjack, $25 for roulette
and $30 for baccarat.
Star is also working with its junket operators to
lure a greater share of VIPs to its harbour-front
casino. It recently bought a 100 foot boat to attract
more high rollers while earlier this year it spent
$50 million on a new private jet to bring in valuable
gamblers from around Asia.
Sydney Morning Herald)