Tabcorp announces plans to expand Sydney's Star City
Australian gaming and entertainment giant Tabcorp last month announced plans for an A5 million investment-about US0 million-in its Star City Casino in Sydney.
In a month dominated by worries that the international financial system was near collapse, it was unusual to see a major operator showing confidence in the future.
“The expansion will make Star City the destination of choice for entertainment in Sydney,” said Tabcorp CEO Elmer Funke Kupper. “The new license agreement with the New South Wales government allows us to make a substantial investment and make the casino an integral part of ‘Brand Sydney’ that will attract domestic and international visitors. It is a great outcome for customers, for the state and for Tabcorp.”
The new license agreement extends Star City’s exclusivity and concession deal with New South Wales for another 12 years. The casino is over 10 years old.
The casino currently has 200 tables and 1,500 slots. The number of tables may be increased, subject to Casino Control Authority approval, but the number of slots will remain the same.
The project will see Star City undergo major and minor changes in a variety of areas.
A new five-star, 309-room hotel will be built next to the casino. The hotel will also add 500 parking spaces to the casino complex.
Up to 30 bars and restaurants will be available to visitors when the project is completed. The existing ballroom will be enlarged to accommodate at least 1,200 guests. Additional conference and banquet facilities are also planned. One of two existing theaters will become a multi-purpose venue for concerts, telecasts, film and fashion shows and will hold a new sports book. The other theater will continue to be used for world-class stage productions.
The casino floor will be modernized and expanded in the direction of the harbor, which the current casino does not utilize. The entire casino will be reoriented, with a grand entrance that will face the Sydney harbor and skyline. At present, the casino entrance faces landward and makes no use of the dramatic harbor setting.
Walter Bugno, Tabcorp’s chief executive of casinos, said, “This is our chance to build a world-class casino and entertainment complex.”
The new complex will use environmentally responsible materials and systems and employ energy conservation measures.
The plans are currently being studied by the New South Wales Planning Department. Once approved, construction should start in early 2009 and be completed in 2011.
Star City was initially operated by the old Showboat company under a license issued to Sydney Harbour Casino Pty Ltd. A temporary casino opened in September 1995, with the permanent casino opening two years later. Harrah’s acquired Star City in 1999, but only operated it for a few months before selling it to Tabcorp in 2000. It is the second-largest casino in Australia-after Melbourne’s Crown Casino-and features two gaming floors.