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Queensland premier rebuffs Gold Coast ‘Casino City’ proposal

Sat, Jul 22, 8:51am by Staff Writer

Upon learning that American casino giant Caesars Entertainment is exploring an expansion to Queensland, the state’s Premier spoke out against the Glitter Strip becoming the latest imitation of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Gold Coast is currently home to one casino property – The Star at Broadbeach – but the Queensland government under Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is in the approval stage of granting a license to the Chinese-backed ASF Group to construct a planned AUD$3 billion casino and integrated resort development.

That project is currently in the planning stage – amid public protest and concerns over ASF Group’s financial solvency – but in recent weeks it was reported that Caesars Entertainment sent an envoy to the Gold Coast.

That representative, president of international development Steven Tight travelled to the Southport Spit site where ASF plans to build. He later told the Gold Coast Bulletin that the visit’s objective involved a potential third casino to be built along the Gold Coast:

“We are currently doing our internal feasibility study on whether another large-scale integrated resort could be supported in the Gold Coast market.”

“All I can say at this point is Caesars Entertainment continues to evaluate opportunities throughout the region to expand our network of world-class properties.”

These comments prompted Palaszczuk to tell local media outlets that, while the her Labor Party government is receptive to Caesars Entertainment assisting the Chinese-backed ASF Group as an operator of the eventual casino, no additional venues will be approved:

“There’s only so many casinos we can have on the Gold Coast.”

“I don’t think we need to have this a casino city. The Gold Coast has so much to offer.”

“There’s only one casino licence available on the Coast at the moment and our government is going through due process in relation to ASF.”

Shortly thereafter, Senator Larissa Waters – who served as Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens and the party’s spokesperson on gambling until her resignation this week – criticized the Palaszczuk government for alleged hypocrisy:

“Annastacia Palaszczuk says she doesn’t want the Gold Coast to become a ‘casino city.’ So why is her government proposing to destroy publicly owned green space for yet another casino?”

“Seventy percent of Gold Coast residents don’t want the mega-casino proposed for the Spit. But the State Labor government isn’t listening, no surprise seeing as they’ve happily taken tens of thousands of dollars from the Chinese consortium behind the Spit mega-casino and their business partners.”

Palaszczuk has also sparred with ASF Group – a consortium backed by the Chinese government that is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) – over her government’s decision to move the casino project from Wave Break Island to the current Southport Spit site.

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