Catch a calling Star: Entertainment group announces return to profitability

Star Entertainment Group has returned to profitability in the first half after posting a massive $1.3 billion loss the year before, but says increased competition is cutting into its trading.

Feb 29, 2024, updated Feb 29, 2024
Star CEO Robbie Cooke. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Star CEO Robbie Cooke. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)


The embattled casino owner posted a $9.1 million statutory net profit after tax for the six months to December.

Net revenue was down 14.6 per cent to $865.7 million, the company announced on Thursday, a disclosure delayed for eight days following word last week NSW would hold another inquiry into its suitability to hold a casino license.

Star managing director Robbie Cooke said the company welcomed the second review headed by solicitor Adam Bell.

“This inquiry will provide an objective forum in which The Star will be able to demonstrate in NSW it is capable of returning to suitability with particular reference to the actions that have been put in place since the Bell report was published on 13 September 2022,” Mr Cooke said.

That damning report found breaches of money laundering rules, criminals gambling in casinos and infiltration of organised crime and led to the departure of Star’s entire board and senior management team.

Mr Cooke, who became Star’s chief executive in November 2022, said the casino operator intended to participate in the latest inquiry in an open, transparent and facilitative manner.

The company said revenue was down 16.9 per cent to $450 million at The Star Sydney, with earnings dropping 57.2 per cent to $37.4 million.

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An increased focus on compliance and excluding certain guests, weaker consumer discretionary spending and increased competition from NSW pubs and clubs and Crown’s new casino all took a toll on trading, Star said.

Earnings were down by about a third at The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane, in part due to increased gambling controls as well as a subdued visitation to Brisbane’s CBD.

Star said it was making progress on putting its legacy issues behind it.

It is also looking ahead to the opening of the first phase of Queen’s Wharf Brisbane in August, a multi-billion project on 12.8 hectares in the heart of the Brisbane CBD.

Late Thursday morning, Star shares were up 4.2 per cent to 50c.

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