All of The Star Entertainment Group’s properties in Queensland and New South Wales will transition to smoke-free environments indoors by 2023 as the company breaks away from state government exemptions.
The move will take effect upon the opening of the company’s AUD$3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf precinct in Brisbane, with The Treasury Brisbane, The Star Gold Coast and The Star Sydney all to progressively ‘butt out’ indoor smoking beforehand with the added benefit of air filtration technology.
Queen’s Wharf will consist of four luxury hotels, more than 50 restaurants, cafes, bars and retail outlets, 12 football fields worth of public space and a new gaming facility. The development remains on track to open in late 2022.
Only 11% of Australians aged 14 and over were daily smokers, according to the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey – a figure down from 19% in 2001 and 24% in 1991. The number of Australians who have never taken up smoking has climbed from 49% in 1991 to 63% in 2019.
The government exemptions were put in place to help casinos compete for market share against domestic and international rivals and to minimise any competitive disadvantage.
The Star Entertainment Group Managing Director and CEO, Matt Bekier, said the time was right for change, with gaming patrons becoming more accepting of outdoor smoking solutions instead.
“We are seeing fewer and fewer customers wanting to smoke indoors. More and more of our guests are demanding an entirely smoke-free indoor environment and over several years we have been gradually reducing the smoking options in our premium gaming areas,” Bekier said.
“This move to go completely smoke-free indoors brings us into alignment with most of the hospitality industry and creates a better working environment for our staff.”
The company says it will also cease to operate premium gaming rooms with indoor smoking facilities for high-rolling patrons, which will come into effect no later than the end of 2022 following a redesign of its existing facilities.
“We’ve listened and we’re looking forward. The best interests of our guests and staff have driven this decision,” Bekier added.