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Poker machine mind games in Queensland

Fri, May 10, 8:42am by Staff Writer

The Queensland state government is rejecting opposition claims it will have to break a promise not to increase poker machine numbers on the Gold Coast for a second casino.

It comes amid reports the state government has been sounding out Gold Coast pubs and clubs about offloading their pokies for the Global Tourism Hub.

MyGC.com.au is reporting that a global tourism hub would need around 1600 machines to make it viable, with Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington predicting the government would have to go back on its word.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones insists it won’t happen.

“This is about the long term sustainability of our clubs and also ensuring that we’re providing world class tourism options on the Gold Coast,” Ms Jones said.

“Deb Frecklington wanted to put a casino on the Spit with up to 2500 pokies, she’s got to stop playing games with the tourism industry on the Gold Coast,” Ms Jones said.

Ms Jones says the LNP is just playing nasty politics.

“We have said very clearly that we do not want to see an increase in poker machines on the Gold Coast and we are standing by that commitment.

“We’ve said very clearly we’ll work very carefully with clubs and pubs on the Gold Coast and we’ll stand by our commitment to not see a net increase.”

Clubs have previously ruled out selling their own machines to the global tourism hub, arguing they would struggle to survive without them.

Bidders welcomed for second GC casino

The world famous Las Vegas casino Caesars Palace is among 12 expected bidders for a second casino license on the Gold Coast, The Australian reported in March.

Among the other suitors include Hard Rock International and emerging Cambodian-based gaming giant NagaCorp.

The Queensland government this week announced that it had resurrected plans for an integrated casino resort after the idea was abandoned ahead of the 2017 state election.

After months of speculation, Tourism Minister Kate Jones confirmed the government was calling for expressions of interest for the development, but that there was no preferred site.

Ms Jones said the Global Tourism Hub project would not involve an increase to the 7,500 poker machines licensed on the Gold Coast.

At present, The Australian reports that 600 licensed machines are not in use.

Ms Jones said the tender process should drive greater investment in Gold Coast tourism.

At least 11 potential sites have been identified by the government for the project, which is expected to have a strong entertainment emphasis.

There will be a limit of five per cent of the resort’s floor space being dedicated to gaming.

Ms Jones said the government would not be revealed the potential sites at this stage.

“We have had more than a dozen operations from around the world come forward saying they would like to have a look at what sites are suitable,” she said.

“We have confidence a competitive process offers a better outcome for the people of the Gold Coast,” she said.

“There is a possibility that just like Brisbane, (Star) will be the only operator if they can promise and deliver a true integrated resort with additional convention space, entertainment facilities, quality restaurants and cafes and bars” Ms Jones said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander urged the government to reveal its “11 secret sites”.

“The Premier must stop hiding and come clean with the people of the Gold Coast about the second casino,” he said.

“The LNP forced Labor to rule out more pokies on the Gold Coast and now we want them to release the 11 secret sites,” he said.


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