Bosses of Gold Coast casinos shared that they are targetting domestic high-roller customers, while Chinese VIP casino patrons, also known as “whales”, are not expected to come back to the Australian casino market for another year.
On July 3rd, the Star Gold Coast casino resumed operations of its gambling floors and its staff had their hands full. Another customer influx is expected on July 10th, when the Queensland border reopens and interstate visitors will be able to enter the state, except for Victorian residents, as the state of Victoria is currently experiencing a worrying increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
Geoff Hogg, the executive of operations at the Star Group, revealed that hundreds of hotel rooms were booked, the restaurants at the casino resort were full, and more visitors are expected from this Friday. According to him, the reopening of the Queensland border was a good thing and further shared that the Group’s facilities are currently operating closer to full capacity.
Still, Mr Hogg, who has more than 20 years of professional experience in the casino industry, explained that the continued closure of international borders would have a significant impact on Gold Coast casinos’ performance, especially considering the fact that international customers account for up to 10% to 12% of the gambling operators’ business.
Global Tourism Sector Lockdown Affected Gold Coast Casinos’ Operation
The executive of operations of the Star Gold Coast casino further shared that the gambling market players in the region were aware of the fact that part of the sector would remain inoperable for a considerable period of time due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus infection and the lockdown that followed.
The global tourism sector was also shaken by the ongoing situation with the Covid-19, so casino operators on the Gold Coast could not rely on international visitors to uplift the casinos’ performance for at least a year. Apart from that, even with international borders reopening, there is hardly any guarantee that Chinese high-roller tourists, who visited Australia to gamble in local casinos, will return to the country. Last month, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in China warned local residents to be careful because of a considerable increase in the number of racist attacks on Asian and Chinese people because of the coronavirus, so Chinese tourists may be unwilling to travel to foreign destinations, including Australia.
According to Tourism Research Australia, over 1.3 million Chinese people, including underage individuals, visited Australia in 2018, with them spending about AU$11.5 billion at the time. Mr Hogg confirmed that Chinese tourists were extremely important to Australia.
So, with foreign high-roller customers unable to reach the country at least in the shorter time, Mr Hogg explained that Australian casino operators would become more focused on wealthy local customers. According to him, there are some domestic customers who can be pretty critical to the sector, so operators would try to make them turn their eyes to the Gold Coast casino venues.