Star Entertainment Group expects to post AUS$1.53bn (£878.9m/€1.04bn/US$1.07bn) in normalised revenue for its 2022 financial year – a year in which its licences faced major scrutiny – following a strong recovery domestically during the fourth quarter.
In a market update, Star said revenue in its native Australia was up 11% on pre-pandemic levels in the final quarter of the financial year, amounting to $512m for the three months to the end of June.
Star said slots revenue was 28% higher in the quarter and non-gaming revenue was also up 26%. While domestic table revenue is yet to fully recover despite the reopening of venues in Australia, it was within 5% of pre-Covid levels.
The operator singled out its Star Gold Coast in particular, with domestic revenue at the site up 48% on pre-pandemic levels. This, Star said, was driven by a recovery in domestic tourism and the opening of The Dorsett Gold Coast Hotel and The Star Residences during the year.
Domestic revenue at Star’s Brisbane casino was up 13% on pre-pandemic levels while Star Sydney domestic revenue returned to pre-Covid levels.
However, Star said property closures, operating restrictions and border closures that were put in place in response to the Covid-19 outbreak did impact its performance in the early part of 2022 and this would be reflected in its full-year results.
The operator also said costs associated with regulatory reviews and its increased investment in regulatory and compliance functions would also be reflected in its results, which are due to be published on 22 August.
A review into operations at Star Sydney is due to complete by the end of August, while in June it was also announced that an independent review of Star’s suitability to hold a casino licence in Queensland will also take place.
In terms of its performance in July, Star said trading was above pre-pandemic levels. The operator said its Star Sydney property, as well as its two locations in Queensland, were trading above pre-Covid levels.
Meanwhile, Star also issued an update on its Queen’s Wharf Brisbane Integrated Resort Development, which is now not expected to open until the second half of 2023 due to a series of delays caused by the pandemic and higher than average rainfall in 2022. It was initially planned for the facility to be open by the middle of next year.
Total project costs are expected to be approximately 10% up on original guidance of $2.6bn due to escalating construction material costs, labour shortages, supply chain challenges and the programme delay, as well as the inclusion of capital equipment.
Star, together with its joint venture partners, proposes to fund the majority of these costs through additional equity contributions in accordance with the existing joint venture interests.