A AU$13 million extension project of adding additional high-roller rooms at the Star Casino in Pymont is now underway, as Star owner Echo Entertainment Group has submitted a development application to the Sydney City Council. The plan is to make bigger the existing private gaming room, and to create five (5) more private gaming rooms for both domestic and foreign VIP guests before Crown Resort's AU$1.3 billion hotel-casino complex in Barangaroo becomes operational in November 2019.
Echo Entertainment wants to gain a head start in drawing the Asian high rollers during Crown's 5-year time frame, as the Crown Resorts is building the Barangaroo hotel-casino complex with the high-spending Asian travelers in mind. Crown is mainly targeting the Chinese punters who have a reputation for betting hundreds of thousands of dollars on casino card games. As for local and interstate Australian high rollers, they must first show proof that they have VIP credentials in other casinos, before they can join punters at the Barangaroo tables.
However, Echo's expansion strategy is geared toward attracting both local and foreign customers. Contrary to popular industry predictions about the local gambling market, Echo's domestic casino revenue has been experiencing growth from the gambling activities of punters who frequent The Star in Pymont, The Treasury in Brisbane and The Jupiters in Gold Coast.
According to Echo's Chief Executive Matt Bekier, domestic casino revenue during the second half of the year and excluding the VIP market, increased at a “pretty impressive rate of 9.3 percent.” He added, “I know that some of the analysts look at VIP – it has turned around in volume, but as you know it's quite low margin.” “We've really focused on the domestic business.”