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Caesars withdraws from Gold Coast casino tender process

Fri, Jun 28, 2:08pm by Staff Writer

US casino giant Caesars Entertainment has revealed it has pulled out of the race to develop a casino on Australia’s Gold Coast, Asgam reports.

According to reports from News Ltd, the decision was made a number of weeks ago and well before the announcement by Caesars this week that it had entered into a US$17.3 billion merger agreement with fellow US casino operator Eldorado Resorts.

Speculation has been rife in recent months as to which foreign operators might be interested in bidding for the Queensland State Government’s mooted second casino licence, however in a statement published by The Gold Coast Bulletin this week, a Caesars spokesman said, “Several weeks ago, Caesars Entertainment decided that it would not pursue a casino licence in Queensland.”

While no detail was provided by Caesars as to the reasons for its decision, Queensland Tourism Department Director-General Damien Walker said the government had been informed “this decision by Caesars was a result of internal company changes and not the attractiveness of the Gold Coast market as an investment opportunity.”

The decision also precedes comments made by Eldorado CEO Tom Reed during an investor call this week discussing the merger agreement with Caesars.

Reeg, who will take charge of the merged entity upon completion of the deal, stated “no firm decisions” had yet been made on the company’s long term international ambitions but “the opportunity internationally will have to be stupendous for us to run in that direction.”

As for the Gold Coast, it is still to be seen whether the proposed development of a second casino goes ahead at all, with no site yet confirmed and questions being asked over whether the region is big enough to host another IR under the government’s Gold Coast Global Tourism Hub ambitions.

Approval for a second casino would also likely put an end to a proposed A$2 billion “mega masterplan” by The Star Gold Coast operator, Star Entertainment Group, in addition to the A$850 million it has already spent upgrading its Gold Coast property.

The masterplan would see a total of four new hotel towers developed on top of the already under construction Dorsett Hotel and Star Residences.

Star Entertainment Group has previously expressed concerns over the government’s plans for slot machine licences should a second casino be given the green light stating the company “has a declared position that the Gold Coast is already saturated as an electronic gaming machine market.”

Open-air concert venue for Star Gold Coast

The Star Entertainment Group is unperturbed by a second casino stealing its limelight if the recent unveiling of plans for an open-air concert venue is anything to go by.

The proposal reported by Australasian Leisure Management outlines plans to develop an area that is currently vacant canal-front land on the corner of the Gold Coast Highway and T E Peters Drive.

If approved, the venue would be able to host events from full-scale concerts and family-friendly events such as community carols.

The one hectare Gold Coast Bulletin Centenary Park, which recently received an A$1 million makeover in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games, will now be further utilised to accommodate a stage and up to 1,500 people.

The new venue is the brain child of chief executive Matt Bekier, who explained that “we (The Star Entertainment Group) have spoken to a lot of people well-connected to the music industry (and) an outdoor venue that can stage concerts of small and large scale would drive great cut-through and further enhance the Gold Coast as a music destination.”

The Star Group’s plans include a calendar of events from full-scale concerts by world-class bands and performers to family-friendly picnic events like Carols at Christmas to smaller more intimate offerings like string quartets.

“The elevated stage will be in full view of Gold Coast Bulletin Centenary Park. The park could be activated for larger concerts and free family-friendly events, increasing the audience considerably and creating that unique waterside experience,” Mr Bekier said.

The next step for the Star is to approach a range of stakeholders, including the City of Gold Coast Council, Broadbeach Alliance and entertainment specialists in order to consider the best way forward for the open-air concert venue.

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