Queensland cities battle for available casino licence

by Mia Chapman Last Updated

The battle for the available regional casino licence in Queensland is on in earnest with regional cities across the state discussing the feasibility of operating a casino.

The decision of the Aquis group not to pursue a casino license for its luxury development at Yorkey’s Knob in Cairns means there is an additional license available for regional Queensland.

The state government is expected to call for expressions of interest in a regional integrated resort licence.

State treasurer Curtis Pitt indicated last week that Cairns remained a preferred destination for a new casino

“Cairns is well positioned against the criteria outlined by the Minister for State Development, particularly with our proximity to the international airport,” the Cairns Post reported Mr Pitt as saying,

“This is exactly the kind of activity we need to see right now, especially as the tourism boom creates a potential shortage of accommodation for visitors to Cairns as demand continues to grow,” he said.

But, other bids are expected from the likes of Townsville and Great Keppel Island, while the inland city of Toowoomba is also considering its options.

The Toowoomba Chronicle reported that the City’s Mayor, Paul Antonio, said he was not opposed to the idea.

“We would have to have a very solid community discussion on it and engage the wider community,” he said.

“I don’t frequent casinos and I see the sadness that comes with people addicted to gambling … but many mature communities do have these venues,” he said.

“If we want to develop tourism here, that could be an amazing driver and we’ve ticked a number of boxes.”

Criteria for building a casino included significant capital investment and for construction to commence within 18 months of approval.

Any host city would have to have a population of more than 150,000 people and have access to an international airport.

Toowoomba is located 125km west of Brisbane and has a population of 165,000.

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