Star City Casino

Star City Casino

Infobox hotel
hotel_name = Star City Casino

image_width = 250px
caption = Star City Logo
location = Pyrmont, Sydney, New South Wales
flagicon|Australia Australia
coordinates = coord|33|52.1|S|151|11.7|E|display=inline,title
opening_date = September 13, 1995
stars = Five Stars
diamonds =
closing_date =
developer =
architect =
operator = Tabcorp
owner =
number_of_restaurants = 12 + 8 bars
number_of_rooms = 351
number_of_suites = 130
floor_area =
floors = 17
parking =
website = [ Official site]
footnotes =
"For the UK casino, see Star City, Birmingham."

Star City Hotel and Casino (formerly "Sydney Harbour Casino")is the second largest Casino in Australia after rival Melbourne's Crown Casino, Star City is a hotel and casino in Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia. Fronting onto Darling Harbour, Star City features two gaming floors, eight bars, seven restaurants, three hundred and fifty one hotel rooms and one hundred and thirty serviced and privately owned apartments. Two theatres adjoin the complex, the Lyric Theatre and the brand new Star Theatre.

Star City is the only legal casino in Sydney. The gaming operations are overseen and controlled by the New South Wales Casino Control Authority and is licenced to be the only legal casino in New South Wales until September 13 2007 when the restriction will be reviewed. Early suggestions are that Tabcorp will be offered the state casino monopoly for a further 10 years as studies reveal that the NSW economy will not be able to sustain two casinos. []

The prospect of a second casino in the state has returned according to a Sydney Morning Herald article, outlining talks between then NSW premier Morris Iemma and Hong Kong businessman Stanley Ho. []

Gaming Areas

The casino features two gaming floors - the main gaming floor on level one for general entry and the "Endeavour Room" on level three. The "Endeavour Room" table bet ranges from $25 to $75,000 and the "Endeavour Room" also contains the "Inner Sanctum", with table bet ranges of $100 to $200,000. The two areas are only available to high rollers and international guests following an application for membership and review by Star City management. The "Inner Sanctum" pits are frequently used for junket players. Star City returned to junket play in 2005 after taking a number of large losses in 2002.

General entry to Star City's main gaming floor is free of charge to persons over 18 years of age, suitably dressed and providing they are not subject to a current exclusion order preventing entry to the casino. Patrons entering the casino may be required to provide valid identification to either prove their age or to cross check against the exclusion list. Valid identification include most photo identification cards, passports or driving licences.

Recent rebuilding works have added extra gaming areas for the main gaming floor with the addition of the Oasis Lounge and the 36 Degrees Bar although these new areas have not increased the amount of tables or machines available in total.

The main gaming floor is divided into three major parts - Table Games, Electronic Gaming, and Poker. The amount of poker tables has been steadily increased by Star City management and now stands at 14 tables.

A development application has been approved by the City of Sydney (D/2006/1611) for extension work to the "Endeavour Room". When completed, this work will add four additional private gaming rooms and extra amenities. The extension will cover the area formerly used by Al Porto restaurant. These extensions have an estimated cost of $6,664,738.

At the beginning of the works, heavy rain managed to penetrate through the upper levels and cause a ceiling collapse on the gaming floor. There was one reported injury to a gaming staff member before the area was cordoned off. Further leaks on the 9th of July caused damage to two sets of escalators.

Table Games

Star City provides many traditional casino games to patrons, including Mini Baccarat, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, Craps, Pai Gow, Poker, Pontoon, Roulette, Rapid(semi-electronic) Roulette, Sic Bo, Three card poker, and Four-Card Poker.

Two-Up was available at Star City but was removed at the end of October 2003 as the game was not considered to be economically viable. The pit typically required three dealers and two games supervisors, consequently management felt that returns were not as high as they could be and with Tabcorp insisting on large reductions in overheads, this iconic game was closed.

In December 2005, a new game "Double-Chance" was trialed but was discontinued soon after; Players, referring to the games high house advantage, dubbed the game 'No-Chance'.

At the end of 2006, Star City introduced a new game, three card baccarat, following minor reorganization of its main gaming floor in preparation for the smoking ban in July 2007 and planned extensions to its gaming floors. Again this game was removed from the floor shortly after due to lack of interest from players.

Electronic Gaming

Star City provides a selection of electronic gaming machines, including slot machines, bingo, rapid roulette and video poker machines. "Rapid Big Wheel" was introduced in early 2006 to replace the often slow paced table game version, which has now been reintroduced, and the Rapid Big Wheel removed in August 2007. Star City has just over 1490 electronic gaming machines but is limited to a maximum 1500.

Rules and Etiquette

* Cameras and mobile phones are not allowed at the gaming tables. Patrons are asked not to take photographs within the casino gaming area but security staff are understanding and are not permitted to insist photographs be deleted
* In Blackjack and Pontoon, players are required to show a clear hand signal to indicate "hit" and "stand" as verbal announcements are not valid. "Hit" is motioned as a tap on the table, while "stand" is indicated by waving the air in a "go away" motion.
* In games where playing cards are used, the player is not allowed to touch the cards once the hand has commenced (except for Caribbean Stud, Poker, and Three-Card Poker). An exception to this rule applies in the "Endeavour Room" where mini baccarat players take great delight in slowly folding up a corner of their cards while willing on the number they need.
* In Pai Gow and Caribbean Stud, speaking in languages other than English is prohibited. Specifically, any discussion at all is not allowed, though rarely enforced unless the discussion is directly related to the hand.
* Tipping gaming workers or other staff displaying a gold identification tag is not permitted. It is acceptable, however to tip waiters, bar staff, cleaners or any other staff member providing good service. The gold tag (or 'gold licence' issued by the Casino Control Authority to the employee after a records and background check) indicates that this employee has been deemed to be a responsible and trustworthy person to deal with cash, gaming chips and gaming equipment. By refusing to allow tips to gold licenced staff, the CCA feels it has further increased the integrity of the casino's operations, reducing the possibility of collusion or bribery.
* Star City has a very relaxed dress code, with smart casual being acceptable. Unacceptable dress include dirty or torn clothing (including any trendy type ripped jeans), beach wear, toga's (including bikinis), thongs (as in the footwear, flip flops) and track suit style trousers after 7 pm. Singlets (AKA muscle vests or wife beaters) are not permitted on males but are considered acceptable on females.
* Hats are not permitted on the main gaming floor except for religious or medical purposes. An exception is allowed in the Poker Pit area where poker players can wear hats to contribute to their perceived image.
* Backpacks and luggage are not permitted on the gaming floor and patrons are directed to the only operational cloakroom by the taxi rank. Non members are charged $2 to cloak items, effectively making this a cover charge. It should be noted that large hand bags are permitted.


Star City has a large variety of restaurants ranging from five star fine dining to a Subway outlet. Not all the restaurants are managed by Star City with a number of outlets being privately managed.
* Astral (limited hours five star dining and buffet style breakfast. Exacecellent view, located on level 17 of the hotel.)
* Sean's Kitchen (upmarket Tapas style dining, opened August 2008 in place of Fortunes)
* Lotus Pond (Asian influence fine dining, very limited hours, no view.)
* Chao Praya Thai (not a Star City restaurant but located on the Pirrama Road frontage.)
* Garden Buffet (all you can eat style, alcoholic beverages not included.)
* Trophies Food Court (budget food, open 24 hours weekends, closed early mornings weekdays, located within the gaming area.)
* Lanzafame Pizzeria
* Burger Restaurant (opening late 2008 in place of Jin)
* Subway (the popular sandwich franchise. Not run by Star City and very successful.)
* City Noodle (not run by Star City, Chinatown style noodle dishes and soups.)
* Pit Stop (Staff restaurant) Free buffetAl Porto Italian restaurant closed its doors for the last time on January 27, 2007 after a long period of very limited opening hours resulting in confusion amongst staff and patrons.Pyrmonts (now closed) was steak and seafood with limited city view.Jin (AKA Oori)(now closed) was a Korean Buffet.Fortunes (now closed) was an easy going bistro style and also buffet style breakfast.

Star City's Garden Buffet is famous because of the all you can eat prawn buffet. - ("Prawntastic"! is used as a catchphrase for the Buffet and in-house advertising highlight that the prawns are fresh but in reality are frozen Thai prawns sourced from Manettas Seafood).


Star City operates eight bars within the complex with a further two outlets designated as bars and another two external independent outlets able to serve alcohol. Bars within the gaming area are not accessible to minors (persons under 18). Some bars have live entertainment, mostly on weekends.

* Astral Bar. Hotel tower level 17, excellent views, limited operation times. Dress code on weekends and under 18s permitted inside. New balcony areas increase this bars versatility.
* Bluff Bar (formerly Harbour View Lounge). Located on level 1 within the gaming area, recently refurbished and next to the poker pit, good view of the Western city skyline.
* GLO Bar. Constructed over the former location of the two up pit, the Glo bar is on level 1 and has limited operating hours. Cocktails and snacks are available here during operating hours.
* 36 Degrees Bar (formerly Lightning Ridge Bar). Newly renovated, 36 Degrees boasts at least 36 varieties of vodka, wonderful views over the gaming floor and state of the art LED lighting systems. Located on level 2, access is only available from the gaming floor.
* Oasis Lounge (formerly VIP slots lounge). Newly built, the Oasis area has higher limit table games and some slots in an area above the Garden Buffet. Located on level 2, access is only available from the gaming floor. Limited views of the gaming floor but an excellent vantage point for the big screens in Trophies.
* Lagoon Bar. Open 24 hours, this bar is the busiest of all. Located on level 1 within a faux mountain, the Lagoon bar has almost no view of anything but creates its own cave-like atmosphere.
* Trophies Bar. Located on level 1 opposite the three big screens, Trophies has limited operating hours but has a large seating area adjacent to accommodate sporting events on the big screens or temporary stage area.
* Lobby Lounge. This bar is set in part of the hotel reception area and primarily serves as a coffee and snack area for hotel guests or as a meeting point with a small seating area. Limited operating hours, notable in the service area being closed in the early morning thereby missing the check out patronage.
* Lyric Cafe (formerly Karima's). Located on the retail concourse facing the city, this is now classed as a Star City bar on the Star City website. Recently taken over by Star City from private owners, Karima's was originally a 24 hour licenced area that was incredibly successful. With the current management reducing the operational hours, this has created confusion and ire amongst both staff and patrons.
* Score Bar. Located in the retail concourse, Score was a firm favourite with staff as it was open 24 hours. Recent developments have seen the bar reduce its operating hours with special times in the early morning where access is only allowed to Star City staff.
* Paddy Maguire's. Located in the retail concourse, Paddy's is a generic style Irish pub with typified Irish pub styling. Open late, Paddy's often has live entertainment.
* City Noodle. Located in the retail concourse facing the city, City Noodle is licenced to serve alcohol.
* Chao Praya Thai. Located on the Pirrama Road frontage, Chao Praya is a Thai restaurant that is also licenced to serve alcohol.

The Cave nightclub was located below the Star City complex, along Pirrama Road close to the junction of Jones Bay Road. The Cave was a frequent site of violent and anti social behaviour due to the target clientele. The Cave closed with no warning in early 2006 although unsubstantiated rumours indicate the liquor administration board was reviewing the license in light of the amount of anti social activities linked to the venue. One drive-by shooting and at least two stabbings took place outside the club with numerous altercations also taking place. - another point of view would be that the Cave Nightclub was one of the first "Superclubs" to open in Sydney in December 1997. Owned by the late and notorious stockbroker Rene Rivkin, the club in its prime years 97- 00 was visited by major celebrities eg P.Diddy, U2, Mariah Carey, Samuel L Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Jean Claude Van Damme, Phillip Garcia, Sun Tang, Julian Lennon, and Wesley Snipes. Popular for its R'N'B, funk and Live Music, acts such as Owen Z and the Booty Affair, Funky Chai Tea, and the Riva Band were regulars. The drive-by shooting mentioned above was captured by surveillance video, three shots were fired from a small calibre weapon from a moving vehicle with the only injuries being a female receiving splinters from the wall embedded in her left arm.

Pop Culture

The first 12 episodes of Australian TV Series Joker Poker was filmed in a private gaming room at the casino. The game was dealt by experienced Star City croupiers.

Recent Shootings

On the 8th of May 2008, it is alleged that a 37 year old man, Mr Todd Devaney, entered the Star City Turbines Gym and shot a female Star City employee in the hip twice. Mr Devaney was then seen by Star City's CCTV system to escaped the scene on foot. It is alleged that Mr Devaney then sought refuge in a nearby Cafe where Police soon discovered him with 3 loaded firearms, a false beard, and a face mask disguise. [ [ Man charged over Star City shooting - Breaking News - National - Breaking News ] ]


September 14 2007 - $10 gaming chips introduced

August 2006 - Baccarat Perfect Pairs replaced by Dragon Bonus

January 2006 - Table Game "Four-Card Poker" introduced

January 2006 - Table Game Big Wheel replaced by "Rapid Big Wheel"

December 2005 - Table Game "Double-Chance" trialed and removed later that month

2000 - $500 chips were removed from the casino after fraudulent chips found under the sea in. Some chips did make their way into the bank due to limited security features on the chips.

December 1999 - TabCorp bid for Star City, eventually succeeding

October 1999 - Harrahs acquire Star City

November 27th 1997 - Permanent Star City Casino established

September 13th 1995, 6pm - Temporary Casino Opened

1994 - Casino licence granted to Sydney Harbour Casino Pty Ltd (operations managed by Showboat)


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ NSW Casino Control Authority]

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