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Local Businessmen Ask Adelaide Casino to Follow New Club Laws

Tue, Aug 13, 6:32am by Kevin Pitstock

The Adelaide CasinoLocal club owners have asked the Adelaide Casino’s managers to abide by the same post-3am drinking ban which affects other bars in the area. Those calling on the casino to close down the casino’s bars after 3am not only believe the casino’s exemption isn’t fair, but they believe failure to redress the situation could set up a situation where the casino becomes a trouble spot for violence.

The South Australian government imposed a new code this year for late-night drinking venues. The government wanted to crack down on drinking-related violence near the clubs and pubs of Adelaide. The ban assures that club patrons cannot enter or re-enter a club after three in the morning each night. The idea behind the new code is to assure revellers don’t get in drunken conflicts while moving from one alcoholic venue to the next.

Then it was learned that Adelaide Casino was given an exemption from the new law. Patrons can enter Adelaide Casino’s bars after 3am, while leaving and re-entering at a later period. Other local club owners think the exemption is unfair, and it will lead to the casino becoming a destination for intoxicated troublemakers who have nowhere else to go.

Local Club Owners’ Criticism

“It needs to be a fair and equal arrangement between all licensees,” said Rod Rose, owner of the HQ Complex and Rosemont Hotel. “If they are sincere that they want to improve the situation, they should make it for all premises, not excluding the largest single venue in the whole state.”

Mr Rose went on to mention the law has been proven to stop violence in the street, so his establishment is already in compliance–like many other local businesses. But he also claims an exclusion for the largest drinking venue in town sends the wrong message, while also making it a “magnet down to North Terrace” for inebriated drinkers.

Adelaide Casino’s “Unique Nature”

Ian Horne, the South Australian chief executive of the Australia Hotels Association, goes one step further. Mr Horne says an exemption for the biggest drinking establishment undermines the new SA law. Calling the Adelaide Casino‘s ability to skirt the law “terribly unfair”, he went on to say, “It undermines the credibility of what the government is trying to do by overtly and deliberately exempting the casino.”

Not everyone sees it that way. SA’s Deputy Premier and Attorney General, John Rau, says Adelaide Casino abides by most aspects of the code, but is given an exemption due to the “unique nature and services of the venue.”

Adelaide Casino’s management states they spend $6 million each year on safety precautions. David Christian, general manager of the Adelaide Casino, says the casino is going “over and above” to ensure safety for staff and patrons. He also pointed out alcohol sales account for only 2% of revenues at the resort, and their alcohol-serving practices are “industry-leading” in South Australia.

Possible Room for Compromise

While the talk of such exceptionalism is certain to outrage many local business owners, the bars inside the Adelaide Casino are inside one complex and, like most modern gambling venues, well-covered by camera surveillance and personnel. It’s uncertain whether local drinkers are going to approach a stroll through the gaming floor with the same reckless abandon they might approach an Adelaide street late at night.

At the same time, the Adelaide Casino’s managers could take steps to comply with the law without much cost to them. If the revenue from alcohol sales is only 2%, then suspending sales for a few hours is a possibility which wouldn’t hurt much. Of course, alcohol sales have an indirect impact on the profits of a casino, which can’t be seen in the sales receipts. It’s good to keep the liquor flowing when people are gambling, because they are less likely to be inhibited about spending dollars on another gamble.

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