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Southport the favourite location for Gold Coast casino

Tue, Jan 29, 12:36pm by Staff Writer

The site of the proposed second Gold Coast casino has been a contentious one with Southport emerging as the preferred location according to The Gold Coast Bulletin.

A report by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been employed by local government to conduct an appraisal for the global entertainment hub mooted for the region.

PwC considered size, location and infrastructure around sites along with accessibility and nearby public transport.

The Gold Coast has 11 sites that could support a project such as this according to the report, which included “one option of merged sites in Southport.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate rued out a site in Evandale, saying it is “unrealistic”, while Tourism Minister Kate Jones told The Bulletin that the Broadwater Tourist Park would not be redeveloped.

Other sites open for consideration include the Star of the Sea, north of Nerang Street in Southport, the State Government light rail site at the corner of Scarborough and Queen streets and the Vomitron site in Surfers Paradise.

In 2018, councillors moved that the casino-resort should be on privately-owned land.

Late last year the Gold Coast City Council’s Planning Committee voted to remove itself from the decision making aspects of the project, given it had little determination on where the site will be.

Council offers have said that the council had “given no representation or advice as to the suitability of sites, as the proposals are not currently at the level of detail required for that assessment.”

“The PwC work is complete and the State Government is considering how to undertake the expression of interest process,” the report said.

Government seeks council’s view

The Government had sought the council’s view on whether it wanted to co-brand the expression of interests and nominate a preferred site.

Council officers advised the project was “still in the very early stages” and developers in their preliminary discussions would want to deal with one government agency.

“It is also recommended that council does not nominate a site, but endorses State Government’s evaluation criteria for site selection,” the report said.

Analysts from Macquarie have disputed the necessity of a second Gold Coast casino despite the projected boost in tourism.

David Gabris and Andy Chuk said the Gold Coast was “not the most attractive market” for a new integrated resort and casino relative to other regions in Australia.

Their analysis centres around the existing casino on the Gold Coast, The Star Gold Coast that has a 45 per cent market share.

The market generated A$616 million in gaming revenues in the 2018 fiscal year, underpinned by one of Australia’s highest domestic per capita gaming spends.

“Given the market structure, a new competitor would be arguably challenged to expand the domestic market with an investment case most likely based on taking significant domestic market share from the incumbents,” Macquarie said.

A spokesman for The Star dismissed talk of a rival casino and said, “we are informed by government there is no process under way. Our position is well known. We are excited by the approval of our A$2 billion-plus expanded masterplan for The Star Gold Coast.

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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