South Australia has just one licensed casino property, Adelaide Casino run by the Skycity entertainment group in the territory’s capital city of Adelaide. The South Australian government says they are not currently considering handing out any table gaming licenses in the near future, so it’s likely that Adelaide Casino will continue to hold a monopoly on the territory’s gambling entertainment.
Located on the southern edge of the Australian land mass, South Australia shares borders with all the other mainland Australian federal states, the only Australian territory to do so. One of the larger federal territories in size in all of Australia, South Australia is also one of the most sparsely-populated; just 1.6 million people mean South Australia makes up just 8% of the nation’s population as a whole.
The majority of the continent is made up of the arid interior landscapes, where the highest-ever temperature in the nation was recorded: 50.7 °C at Oodnadatta in January of 1960. South Australia is sometimes called “the driest state on the driest continent,” though the tip of the territory has comfortable Mediterranean-style weather for part of the year. 1.2 million of the territory’s 1.6 million total inhabitants live in the capital of Adelaide – no other city within South Australia is home to more than 30,000 people.
So it should come as no shock that the territory’s only licensed casino is in Adelaide. The South Australia Lotteries Commission started allowing licensure for casino gambling tables in 1985, and an early version of Adelaide Casino was the first (and so far the only) site to receive such a license. It took six years for the territories’ Lotteries Commission to begin licensing the casino for electronic gaming machines (not pokies), and two years later (in 1993) national law changed so that licenses for casino pokies were allowed.
Interestingly enough, the Parliament of South Australia (which is dominated by the Australian Labour Party) includes a couple of legislators from what is known as the No Pokies Party, a small group dedicated to (among other things) ending the legalisation of poker machines and other games of chance within territorial boundaries.
Built on the north edge of Adelaide’s city centre, housed in the historic Adelaide Railway Station, the casino is run by Skycity but dropped that group’s name in 2009 to maintain close ties with the city of Adelaide. A total of ninety gaming tables (one of the biggest collections in all of Australia) as well as nearly 1,000 electronic gambling machines make the casino a relatively large one by Australian standards. The sheer size of the entertainment complex makes it easy to understand how Adelaide Casino is one of the territory’s top ten employers. Built on the recently-widened North Terrace, Adelaide Casino is easy to access by car, public transit, and two different tram lines that connect it to the larger city of Adelaide surrounding it.
Visitors to South Australia looking for casino gambling action can take their pick of a long list of table games available at the casino in Adelaide: baccarat, blackjack, big wheel, casino-style poker like Caribbean Stud and Casino War, roulette as well as its electronic counterpart Rapid Roulette. Linked jackpot pokies, video poker machines, and an assortment of skill-based gambling machines total more than 1,000, in banks around the casino’s gaming floor. An uncommon offering at Adelaide Casino is the site’s poker room – few casinos in Australia are home to head-to-head poker play, but Adelaide Casino hosts both ring games and tournaments on a daily basis. The Adelaide Poker Tournament is an annual competition that brings together the nation’s best poker players competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Daily games available for play are Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple, with buy-ins ranging from $40 to $2,000 depending on the time of day and the table you select.
With two dozen natural parks spread out across South Australia, visitors to the this somewhat remote part of the world are treated to all sorts of natural wonders – Murray River National Park is a protected area of Australia important for its part in preserving fish and bird wildlife. Cities along the Murray River represent the largest concentration of the territory’s population outside of the city of Adelaide, and the park itself is not a very long commute from the capital, so travelling to this national park is relatively easy for tourists who land in the capital city’s airport and want to see some of the state’s wildlife.
Visitors to Adelaide come for many reasons. The city is home to the largest arts festival in the southern hemisphere, the Adelaide Fringe Festival. The Adelaide Fringe, as it is known, takes place near the end of every summer (in February or March) and has occurred every year since 1960. Twenty-four days of open access arts draws 4,000-plus artists, musicians, and avant-garde theatrical performers to the capital city; a full ten per cent of festivalgoers are international travellers and tourists. The Adelaide Film Festival, which also takes place in February, is one of Variety magazine’s “50 can’t miss world film festival events,” though it is non-competitive and designed to showcase the talent of Australian filmmakers.
Winemaking is a big part of South Australia’s economy – regions such as the Barossa Valley (home to fifty vineyards, almost all of which are available for tours) and the Eden Valley make this part of the country a must-visit for lovers of wine. The nation and the territory of South Australia are both famous for the wine varietal Shiraz, which is grown in other parts of the world but is considered best when grown and produced here in South Australia. Like Marlborough, New Zealand is for Sauvignon Blanc, South Australia is home to some of the world’s finest (and most expensive) bottles of Shiraz.
South Australia’s casino in Adelaide is the only centre for casino gambling and poker play currently open in the territory. The state has a small population, a vocal minority who are dead set against casino gambling, and the majority of tourists are drawn to this part of the country looking for wildlife and other ecological interests. Visitors to Adelaide have easy access to the Adelaide Casino, located as it is on the northern tip of the capital’s city centre.