COVID-19 restrictions and border closures have continued to have a big impact on earnings at The Star Gold Coast, with numbers dropping 20 per cent in the last half of 2020.
The Star Entertainment Group, which also has venues in Brisbane and Sydney, reported a gross revenue of $750 million for the six months to December 31 which is 36 per cent lower than the same period the year before, prior to the pandemic.
On the Gold Coast, normalised EBITDA was down 20 per cent to $51 million, primarily because of the lack of international business.
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In a statement to the ASX, the company said earnings were negatively impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, border closures and the shutting down of the neighbouring Gold Coast Convention Centre and the buffet, which resulted in a 45 per cent drop in non-gaming revenue.
It wasn’t all bad news, with an eight per cent rise in Gold Coasters spending big on the pokies helping to prop up results.
Chairman John O’Neill AO said while the company continues to battle “extraordinary challenges and significant impacts”, things were looking positive.
“The fundamental earnings prospects for The Star’s domestic business remain unchanged,” he said in a statement.
“They are underpinned by valuable long-term licences in compelling locations and the continued transformation of our properties into globally competitive entertainment destinations.
“Major projects at Queen’s Wharf Brisbane and The Star Gold Coast are proceeding to plan.
“Last week we broke ground on the construction of a further tower at The Star Gold Coast. A $400 million investment with our JV partners, this 63-storey mixed-use tower will include a 210-room 5-star
international hotel and 457 apartments.
“This will give us two new towers under construction, with the Dorsett hotel and apartments project well advanced and set for a 2022 completion.
“The Star remains committed to maintaining a balance sheet that positions the Group for the post-COVID-19 recovery.”
Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier said the first couple of months of 2021 had been positive at its Gold Coast casino.
“The Gold Coast had an exceptional run rate for January .. and the demand continues to be very strong,” he said.
“The Gold Coast benefited a little bit from the shutdown, particularly in December, in Brisbane, which then pushed a lot of the business from the south of Brisbane into the Gold Coast.
“We are very pleased with the run rate on the Gold Coast.
“As soon as the flights open up, the domestic salespeople were able to sell the Gold Coast really, really easily.
“In January we had a record inbound traffic number for our domestic salespeople into the Gold Coast.
“So we are happy with the performance and we think a lot of that is sustainable.”