News Of Extra Pokies Boosts Star’s Share Price

Star Entertainment is gearing up to receive 1,000 extra pokies to its flagship Star Sydney casino

It is an excellent time to be an investor in Star Entertainment. The Australian gambling giant’s shares are worth 29% more than they were 12 months ago. They increase more than 4.7% on August 13 following news its Sydney casino is to receive 1,000 extra pokies.

The New South Wales government is considering allowing 1,000 extra pokies into the Star Sydney casino. It plans to transfer the licenses from poor performing pokies from around the region. This means the extra pokies are not new; the total number of pokies in NSW is not increasing.

There are 96,000 pokies across 4,000 venues in NSW. Star Sydney casino in Pyrmont is the home to only 1,500 of those machines. Receiving 1,000 extra pokies gives the casino a significant boost, especially when it comes to potential revenue.

Everyone knows pokies are big business for casinos. NSW residents lost $2.2 billion on pokies in the first four months of 2021. Some $600 million was lost in April alone, 12.58% more than in April 2019. Almost doubling the number of machines at Star Sydney is a big win for the company.

Decision on Extra Pokies On August 16

The decision on whether or not to award Star Sydney 1,000 extra pokies could come as early as August 16. The NSW government is keen to remove machines from smaller, rural pubs and clubs and locate them in a larger casino. Star Sydney is regulated to a higher standard than some smaller NSW venues, which prevents money laundering.

The recent Bergin inquiry into Crown Resorts revealed widespread money laundering. Philip Crawford, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) chairman, warned money laundering happens in NSW.

“Where do money launderers take their money? We just don’t want it washing into the suburban pubs and clubs.”

Crown Resorts would kill for extra pokies at any of its properties, but that 100% will not happen. Of course, Crown’s Barangaroo casino in Sydney remains under lock and key after the Bergin inquiry deemed Crown unfit to hold a gaming licence. Furthermore, recent revelations about Crown’s underpayment of pokies tax means receiving extra pokies is unlikely at best.

12-Week Trial For Cashless Pokies

Money laundering is a major concern for Australian gambling regulators. So much so that a 12-week trial of cashless pokies begins this month. Aristocrat Gaming and Wests Newcastle lead the trial, which sees cashless payments across scores of poker machines. It is not known if Star’s incoming extra pokies will have this feature.

The pokies do not accept cash payments. Instead, customers load up a card at the cashier’s desk, which is used to fund their play on pokies. Other new features include automatic limits on playing time and spending limits. Victor Dominello, the minister responsible for gaming, is an advocate of the digital wallet system.

The Bergin inquiry revealed a gambling card is an effective tool for combating money laundering.

Tasmanian’s Support Reducing Maximum Pokies Bets

Star Sydney is gearing up to receive extra pokies, but Tasmanian pokie players could see a massive change to their machines. According to a recent poll, Tasmanians overwhelmingly support reducing the maximum bet from $5 to $1.

Almost 60% of the 1,000 people questioned support reducing the maximum bet to $1. Another 15% somewhat support the maximum bet reduction. Approximately 20% of respondents somewhat oppose or definitely oppose the move.

Independent Nelson MLC Meg Webb believes the poll’s results show the Tasmanian community expects the government to help reduce harm from pokies. Ms Webb wants to reduce bet sizes, slow spin speeds, and lower maximum jackpots. Increasing RTP from 85% to 95% is another move Ms Webb suggested.

“We know those changes will work, every expert recommends them, they won’t affect people who play machines recreationally, they won’t affect jobs, it won’t affect the amount of staffing the venues need. We would see the losses go down overall because what robust research tells us is that half of the losses that we see at the moment come from people who are addicted.”