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No new poker machines for proposed second Gold Coast casino

Mon, Dec 3, 12:02pm by Staff Writer

Existing poker machine operators at pubs and clubs across Queensland would come under increased pressure should plans for a second Gold Coast casino eventuate.

That is the opinion held by researcher Macquarie, who argues there are more attractive markets in Australia for a new gambling mecca than the sun-kissed city in southeast Queensland.

With one poker machine for every 67 adults and a gaming table for every 3,862, the Coast has higher concentrations of gaming platforms than other major casino cities.

People on the Gold Coast are the second biggest spenders on gaming in Australia behind Sydney, averaging A$1,277 a year.

The city’s 123 clubs and RSLs, as well as the Star Gold Coast generated A$616 million in revenue for the 2017-18 financial year.

In assessing the viability of a second Gold Coast casino, Macquarie said: “we consider the Gold Coat gaming market to be one of the most competition within Australia, given significant supply (or saturation).”

The site of the proposed casino remains unknown, with locations in Southport and Broadwater Parklands proposed by Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.

The tourism hub would seek to attract high-profile musical acts, contain apartments, a shopping centre and gaming venue.

The plan aims to attract national and international investors and is expected to boost Queensland’s A$25 billion tourism industry that supports more than 200,000 jobs.

New casino would need to triple the Star’s revenue to be viable – Macquarie

Macquarie notes that a development of larger than A$400 million would struggle to deliver an ‘appropriate return’.

“We see challenges in generating an appropriate return on a development larger than A$400 million,” Macquarie said.

“We struggle to present a scenario whereby an appropriate return could be generated on a new A$2 billion integrated resort,” Macquarie said.

The size of the project would mean that the new casino would require A$300 million in earning per year, three times what the Star Gold Coast makes – with 45 per cent of the market – generated last year.

With governments across Australia taking a hard-line stance on the prevalence of poker machines in the community and at casinos, Tourism Minister Kate Jones has ruled out adding to the city’s machine stocks.

Instead, the casino would be required to acquired an estimated 500 poker machines from existing operators.

Local club and business are against plans for a second Gold Coast casino.

Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Clubs Doug Flockhart told the Gold Coast Bulletin that recent research has shown that a second casino on the Coast would have a direct impact on at least 30 local clubs and an indirect impact on hundreds around the state.

The state’s community club sector contributes A$850 million back to communities and a second casino would affect these contributions Mr Flockhart said.

A recent poll showed that 68 per cent of Gold Coast residents opposed another casino or extra pokies in a new resort.

The Star Gold Coast last week threatened to tear up its partnership with the Queensland Government if plans for a second casino moved forward.

In an explosive letter to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and all of her Cabinet ministers, the Star Queensland managing director Geoff Hogg urged the Government to “assess the costs of discontinuing a true industry partnership between the Palaszczuk Government and The Star that will leverage statewide benefits.”

The Star Gold Coast was formerly known as Jupiters Casino until 2007 after opening in 1986.

The seven-acre complex includes eight bars, seven restaurants, conference facilities, a ballroom, theatre, health spa and gym.

The hotel has 592 rooms across 21 floors.

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