The Chairman for Australian casino operator The Star Entertainment Group Limited has reportedly stated that his firm’s home market has the potential to attract up to five times as many Chinese players as it does today but advised fellow firms not to become too reliant on this demographic.
According to a report from The Weekend Australian newspaper, John O’Neill also reportedly declared that the Australian tourism industry needs to pay close attention to developments in China, especially when it comes to shifts in government policies, and can continue to grow by attracting more visitors from other Asian nations.
“We have got, at all costs, to avoid complacency with China,” O’Neill told the newspaper. “The Chinese market is incredibly important but we should not be putting all our eggs in one basket. There are other important markets in southeast Asia including Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.”
The Star Entertainment Group Limited is responsible for The Star Sydney, which overlooks Darling Harbour near the center of Australia’s largest city, along with The Treasury Casino and Hotel in Brisbane and O’Neill reportedly explained that the nation has the potential to significantly increase the number of Chinese tourists it welcomes so long as it can satisfy existing infrastructure and hotel supply issues.
“There are 100 million Chinese tourists who travel overseas a year now,” O’Neill told The Weekend Australian. “We have got about 1.2 million a year or about 1% of them. Australia should be picking up about 5% of that. There is no reason why we can’t.”
The Star Entertainment Group Limited additionally runs Queensland’s Jupiters Hotel and Casino Gold Coast and O’Neill reportedly revealed that the firm has no plans to expand into China or any other overseas destination but was instead concentrating on its $1.9 billion casino, hotel and entertainment project being planned for the Queen’s Wharf precinct of Brisbane.
“We are a partnering with Chinese investment [and] bringing it into our properties in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast,” O’Neill told the newspaper. “There are endless benefits they bring to the table. It is a model for how to bring in Hong Kong and Chinese investment into Australia.”
Although he refused to comment specifically on the 19 employees of rival Crown Resorts Limited that were arrested by Chinese police in October and subsequently convicted of “gambling crimes”, O’Neill did reportedly state that international casino firms needed to be sensitive to the policies in each of the nation’s in which they operate.
“We operate in a highly regulated environment in all our various jurisdictions,” O’Neill told The Weekend Australian. “Each market has its nuances, which must be understood by operatives. There cannot be any room for complacency. Early warning signals or changes to the rules of engagement must be monitored carefully and responded to proactively.”