Fresh calls for poker machine restrictions in Victoria 

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
NSW gambling card supported by Bergin inquiry

There are fresh calls for poker machine betting limits and jackpot limits in Victoria following the machines returning to use this week.

Mirage News reports the Victorian Greens have called on the state government to introduce restrictions, as well as a reduction in the opening hours of gaming venues.

With Crown Casino slowly reopening its Melbourne casino since Thursday and poker machines making their return, the Greens want the restrictions invoked to prevent problem gambling.

Victorian Greens acting spokesperson for gambling, Dr Tim Read, said that in a year where we’ve successfully tackled one public health crisis, it was irresponsible to ignore another.

He added that it would be terrible if reopening our social venues coincided with a jump in pokies losses as it has in other states.

In NSW and Queensland, pokies losses have increased since their venues reopened, with Queensland in particular seeing a massive 32 per cent increase in losses compared to the same months last year.

The Greens also want to see the upcoming State Budget allocate funding to support clubs and gambling venues who want to transition out of the harmful pokies industry and into new forms of revenue like live music.

As stated by Victorian Greens acting spokesperson for gambling, Dr Tim Read, “we can’t go back to business as usual on pokies.”

“It’s great that we’re moving towards a COVID normal, but there are still hundreds of thousands of Victorians that have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, increasing the harms of problem gambling.

“The government must introduce provisions to minimise the harms of gambling as soon as possible.”

Star inks agreement to be the only NSW casino with pokies

Star Entertainment has reached an agreement with the New South Wales government to set the casino tax rates from 2022 until 2041.

Share Cafe reported in June that Star Entertainment is to remain the sole casino with pokies machines in New South Wales during this time, unless compensated.

Credit Suisse suggests this is positive for the company’s earnings.

The casino group hasn’t let the coronavirus pandemic dampen its project pipeline.

Casino Aus reports that the company executed its funding agreements with its project partners, securing $1.6 billion in debt funding, the first of it to be used next month.

The Star did this in joint partnership with David Chiu’s Far East Consortium and Henry Cheong’s Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.

The terms of the agreement were determined prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, which means the financials and terms reflect the market conditions at the time.

All necessary conditions for the funding, including the final approval of the Queensland government, should be completed next month.

Once complete, the joint partnership will take the first draw-down on the finding, the rest remaining for construction that is set to begin in early 2021.

In total, the group’s funding is a 5.5-year agreement with three years of operations allowed before refinancing.

New Queensland development expected to open in 2022

The Queensland government initially approved the Queen’s Wharf development in late 2017.

Part of the new development is expected to open in 2022

Originally thought to be a $3 billion project, the Destination Brisbane Consortium wanted to build an entire new residential complex, restaurants and bars, hotels, casino, and retail space.

Covering 27.3 hectares of land and across water along the Brisbane River, the project would use some existing buildings and build new structures, ultimately connecting it all to the South Bank Parklands across the river, with a pedestrian bridge.

Construction crews finally broke ground on the project on March 8, 2018.

The Star expects to open at least part of the project by 2022.

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