The Star gaming revenues at 75% of 2019 levels

The Star gaming revenues at 75% of 2019 levels

The company chairman addressed the issue of executive bonuses and the JobKeeper subsides at the annual shareholders meeting.  

Australia.- The Star Entertainment Group offered a financial update at its annual shareholders’ meeting.

The operator said that from July 1 to October 15, domestic gaming revenues stood at approximately 75 per cent of prior-year levels, while the group’s domestic revenue was at 70 per cent with reduced capacity at all properties.

CEO and managing director Matt Bekier said: “The Queensland properties have traded strongly with domestic gaming revenue broadly in-line with the prior period, notwithstanding the spatial distancing requirements and reduced trading hours that are currently in place.

“Sydney continues to be impacted by the more onerous constraints on the operations of the property, including a cap on the number of patrons in an area and no co-mingling between areas.”

He noted that loyalty gaming revenue remained strong and was enhanced by the opening of a new private gaming room in Sydney.

Bekier added: “The VIP Rebate business continues to be impacted by the closure of the international and domestic borders with negligible turnover in the period.”

Offering an update on measures taken to safeguard the company against the impact of the pandemic, chairman John O’Neill noted that during the 2020 financial year, The Star secured AU$200 million (US$142 million) in additional liquidity, covenant waivers, and had practised cash preservation through reduced operations and an underwritten interim dividend.

It also stood down 95 per cent of its workforce and implemented executive pay cuts.

Currently, the Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast properties remain operational with capacity limits. About 85 per cent of the workforce is already back at their posts, although the company is operating “well below pre-Covid-19 levels.”

The chairman also touched on the debate raised in Australian media questioning the payment of executive bonuses when the gambling firm had taken AU$64.8 million (US$46.1 million) in government subsidies through the JobKeeper programme.

He said: “There was no connection between JobKeeper and bonuses. Bonuses in FY2020 were equity incentives, not cash. They were new issue shares.”

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