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The Star fights back against proposed Gold Coast casino

Fri, Nov 30, 12:32pm by Staff Writer

There’s a storm brewing on the Gold Coast, with gaming giant The Star threatening to tear up its partnership with the Queensland State Government if it approves plans for a second Gold Coast casino.

Gold Coast city councillors voted at a full council meeting last Tuesday for the State Government to progress with a new gaming resort in by a slim majority.

This was despite the majority of Gold Coasters rejecting another casino or more pokies as part of any development.

A ReachTell poll revealed that 68 per cent of residents rejected the idea.

“The results of this research are consistent with previous polling that shows the Gold Coast community is overwhelmingly opposed to a second casino,” a Star Entertainment Group spokesman said.

“We also remain consistent on our position that each stage of the Gold Coast masterplan will be dependent on the market and competitor landscape at the time.”

The Gold Coast City Council’s Planning Committee voted to remove itself from decision-making aspects of the project, given it has little determination on where the site of the proposed casino will be.

As recently as last week, there were murmurs that it could be built at Carey Park in Southport.

A list of potential sites for the controversial project circulated last week and listed Carey Park, with the State Government still considering the location despite council’s lack of support.

Star’s expansion depends on no competitors

Speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin, a Star spokesman re-emphasised the casinos A$2 billion, seven-tower Broadbeach island masterplan was dependent on no new competitors.

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.

Research recently undertaken by global corporate research company Macquarie Research outlined the impact on the local market of the proposed second Gold Coast Casino.

Challenges ahead if second casino approved

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

The report said that, “we see challenges in generating an appropriate return on a development larger than A$400 million.”

The planned casino would be part of a broader tourism hub that would seek to attract high-profile musical acts, contain apartments, a shopping centre and gaming venue.

The first and currently only casino on the Gold Coast, the Star Gold Coast has recently been approved for an A$2 billion upgrade.

The Star Casino’s masterplan includes a commitment to no more poker machines for the Gold Coast and would integrate tourism assets across the Star Gold Coast, Queens Wharf Brisbane and the Sheraton Grand Mirage to A$9 billion.

The Global Tourism Hub hopes 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.

Local club and business are also 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.

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