Australia’s Star Entertainment flags lower revenue on COVID, regulatory costs

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Tourist poses for pictures at the main sign of The Star Casino, owned by Echo Entertainment, at Pyrmont Bay in Sydney

(Reuters) – Australia’s Star Entertainment Group Ltd said on Friday its annual revenue would dip from year-ago levels, pulled down by long spells of operating restrictions, pandemic-led border closures and high regulatory costs.

The country’s no.2 casino operator expects a normalized revenue of A$1.53 billion ($1.07 billion) for fiscal 2022, compared with A$1.55 billion last year.

The company further cautioned that total costs for its mega-project Queen’s Wharf Brisbane are expected to shoot about 10% higher from previous outlook of A$2.6 billion, due to labour shortages and supply chain snarls. It now expects the property to open in the second half of 2023.

Still, Star Entertainment said its domestic revenue for June quarter rose 11% on pre-COVID levels and trading in July remained above levels seen in 2019.

Shares of the casino operator were up 0.7% in early trading.

Star Entertainment, one of the major casino operators in the country, has been entangled in government probe with Australia’s financial crime regulator launching investigations last year over possible breaches of anti-money laundering at its casino in Sydney.

Star had reported a half-yearly loss of A$74.2 million in February.

($1 = 1.4298 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Jaskiran Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)


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