Australian Mega Casinos and the Quest to Make Queensland a Rival to Macau

Australian gambling laws - GamingZion

Eastern Australian state set for three new casino project in the near future, as the area looks to potentially become the new gambling hot spot.

Australia maintains a modest gaming market, although in recent times there have been efforts to change the landscape of the industry.

Queensland is looking at ways to boost its gaming industry, as officials believe that supporting more casinos would bring in numerous benefits to the economy. Last year the government decided to issue a competition for three new casinos. A total of twelve casinos applied to for the three licenses, among which half were international gaming consortiums.

Despite many benefits that resorts would bring to the state, there have also been some concerns about introducing new casinos in a state where there are already a significant number of gaming institutions.

Queensland a growing gambling region

Gambling news report that casino developers strongly believe that they can lure Chinese gamblers from Macau to come to Queensland. Companies such as Crown Resorts and Echo Entertainment are among the big gaming firms that plan to build new casinos at strategic location across Queensland.

• Queensland on course to become a new gambling destination

• Chinese visitors are the biggest spenders

• Concerns over problem gambling

Institutions that have applied for the Queens Wharf Brisbane licenses are: Crown Resorts Ltd, Echo Entertainment Group Ltd., Far East Consortium/Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd, Lend Lease, SKYCITY Entertainment Group Ltd and Greenland Investment Pty Ltd.

The companies that have submitted applications for regional Queensland casino operations are: Aquis at the Great Barrier Reef Pty Ltd, China-Australia Entrepreneurs Consortium Pty Ltd, Fullshare International (Australia) Pty Ltd, GKI Resort Pty Ltd, Eastern Success Group Pty Ltd and ASF Consortium Pty Ltd.

The greatest source of tourist revenue in Australia comes from Chinese tourists. Travel industry expert Justine Chien, director of Sydney-based tour firm Golden Dragon Travel, highlighted that the Chinese enjoy going to casinos and many are avid gamblers. “Whether they gamble or not, casinos are one of the prize attractions.”

She also added how Chinese tourists are attracted to new experiences. “They’ve all been to Macau already. They want to see the different casinos around the world.” Therefore, Queensland seems to be the perfect location for a new adventure. It is not too far away from China as the US is, and yet it offers attractions different from the ones in Macau.

Chinese interests in Queensland

Mainland China maintains a casino-free policy, therefore Chinese investors are looking elsewhere to develop casinos. Macau is an attractive option for many casino developers, however some believe that Queensland has hidden potential.

The government might assign two licenses to Chinese government-led consortiums, as they maintain a “high commercial value,” according to Prime Minster Tony Abbott. Additionally, others also recognized what the Chinese developers can bring to the table, taking into consideration their financial muscle and influence.

Australian gambling laws maintain strict policies, however if the casinos are able to obtain the licenses then the Chinese developers plan to build casinos in Gold Coast and Cairns. Each of the two cities already boasts a casino, however if plans come to fruition, they will become the only two regionals cities in Australia with more than one casino.

Furthermore, Queensland’s Liberal National Party gave indications that they plan to give their backing to Chinese government-led Greenland Investment for a six-star casino in Brisbane.

Tony Fung, a prominent Hong Kong real estate developer, will be financing the Aquis resort casino in Cairns, if he is given the green light. The project has an estimated cost of $8.15 billion. While the Gold Coast development at the Broadwater marine area is set to fetch a price tag of $7.5 once construction is complete.

Some officials oppose gambling plans

The main concerns arise from the fact that Queensland already has a number of casinos on offer to locals and tourists. Some officials believe that the introduction of more casinos will lead to an increase in problems associated with gambling. Gambling addiction and other issues related to gambling would pervade households.

Protesters of the casino developments have indicated that the planned projects would prove detrimental to the society at large. The proposed casinos would be located in areas that have been experiencing high unemployment.

If the gaming companies were unsuccessful in attracting high-rollers, then they would focus their attention on the problem gamblers, who are regulars at mobile casinos and betting shops.

The Chinese casinos must first meet a number of regulations before they can be rewarded the rights to start developments in the region. Nevertheless, opponents are also worried that the casinos would contribute to the growth in crime. The bikie gangs could try to take advantage of the situations and launder money through the casinos.

On the other hand, politicians that are supporting the planned developments argue that the companies would help the economy in a number of ways. Employment would be boosted, while income would be generated from tourists and gambler coming from overseas.

Although there has been growing support for Queensland to become a new gambling center, it is still years away from reaching the level of gambling in Macau. Currently, the Eastern Australian state serves as a new and exciting place to visit and gamble, but does not have the same prestige for big gamblers.

Nevertheless, the proposed integrated casinos and resorts will undoubtedly bring in much needed extra cash to a region that has seen its economy experience a decrease recently.

Taking into account how the Chinese tourists like to spend, the developments might prove to be a success, opening the doors to future possibilities.

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