General Pictures
General Pictures

Star reveals eye-watering cost of casino shutdown

STAR Entertainment Group has found an extra $200 million to ensure its survival if a shutdown of its Queensland casinos continues beyond September.

The mega gaming and hotel company has already stood down 8500 staff from its Treasury Brisbane, The Star Sydney and The Star Gold Coast properties and drastically cut costs to survive the closure.

In a note to the stock exchange this morning Star Entertainment Group revealed it had secured an extra $200 million to take its available cash and undrawn debt to $700 million.

The Star expects operating expenses in a three-month shutdown to cost $220 million, or $320 million if it drags on until September 30.

Managing director and CEO Matt Bekier said the company was well-placed to survive an extended closure.

"The Star is implementing necessary and wide-ranging measures to strengthen the balance sheet and preserve liquidity in the current exceptional circumstances," he said.

Star Entertainment Group chairman John O'Neill and CEO Matt Bekier. Picture: Liam Kidston
Star Entertainment Group chairman John O'Neill and CEO Matt Bekier. Picture: Liam Kidston

"The shutdown continues to have a significant impact on our people and their families, and the Group welcomes the Australian Government's support, particularly the JobKeeper Payment program.

"Our focus remains on preserving the Group's solid financial position and operating flexibility to resume operations quickly when the COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift."

It comes as the company's construction of Queen's Wharf in Brisbane and masterplanning of the first tower of The Star Gold Coast continues unaffected by the COVID-19 lockdown directions.

The group has also secured agreement from its debt providers for a full waiver of gearing and interest agreements on June 30.

Its first-half dividend has been deferred, but a dividend reinvestment plan will continue with a 1.5 per cent discount.

Star shares yesterday closed at $2.34.