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Concerns raised over electronic table games at Brisbane casino

Tue, Jan 3, 8:29am by Staff Writer

The operators of Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf Casino have defended the casino’s right to offer virtually unlimited electronic table games when it opens around 2022.

2017 will be a landmark year for the massive $3 billion project with international joint venture Destination Brisbane Consortium to take over the intended site later in January and begin preliminary construction.

The casino, which is part of a massive integrated resort development, will assume the license from the Treasury Casino from 2022 and operate a 99-year license under the Star Entertainment brand which gives its exclusivity in a 60km radius around Brisbane.

It is expected to be a major tourism drawcard, especially for Chinese visitors, with projections that it will drive a minimum of $800 million in gaming taxes to the Queensland government over its first decade.

Under its license, The Star can operate as many table games as they want, either traditional dealer or electronically, as long as it has regulatory approval.

That approval means that electronic table games, tagged the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ by some anti-gambling lobby groups, will be made widely available.

The Star insists there is a significant difference between these games and the traditional poker machines and they should not be seen as adding more pokies to Brisbane.

“The electronic versions are significantly different to pokies in that they are multi-terminal and allow for more than one player to participate in traditional table games, roulette as an example, simultaneously,” a spokesman told The Australian.

Clubs Queensland is understandably concerned by the impact the new casino will have on traditional clubs across the state, with further casinos also planned on the Gold Coast and in at least one other regional centre.

The addition of further electronic table games could threaten the business model of these clubs.

There have also been concerns raised by community groups, including the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, whose chairman Tim Costello described them as ‘no different’ to poker machines.

“Like pokies, these are the crack cocaine of gambling,” he said. “Terminals are the next ­generation of pokies.”

South Australian senator and prominent anti-pokies campaigner Nick Xenophon also believes that the electronic table games will lead to more harm from gambling in Queensland.

“There doesn’t appear to have been any assessment on what it will mean for gambling addict­ion,” he said.

“It seems that the whole process lacks clarity and transparency. There has been no real consideration of the public interest and despite the promise it is for high-rollers, the reality is it will suck money out of the whole economy and suck money from small and medium businesses, ­especially retail and hospitality.”

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