In an attempt to turn Sydney’s Star City into a world-class casino, Australian gambling monopoly Tabcorp has announced its intention to invest $285 million toward infrastructural improvement of the facilities. Tabcorp executives have also hinted that they would be willing to invest another $500 million in Queensland … but there’s a bit of Australian gambling law to get around.
Insiders reckon Tabcorp is trying to bring back high rollers and basically catch … er, capture the Oriental high-roller VIP sector. An extra $600 million in revenue could be picked up if done correctly.
The main problem comes with the massive expansion plans Tabcorp plans for the Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos: The company wants to add a whopping 1,000 slot machines to the casino floors. The Australian government places a cap on the number of licenses that can be issued (and thus the number of machines that can be installed) and 1,000 new licenses would be well over the limit.
Instead, Tabcorp has ingeniously proposed that the government simply transfer licenses on unused slot machines to Tabcorp; this would avoid increasing the actual number of pokies in Australia. Tabcorp CEO Elmer Funke Kupper explained that “What we have to realize is that casinos, particularly integrated resorts, are made for this sort of business and have all the infrastructure around responsible gambling and responsible service of alcohol.”
The government is reportedly intrigued by the proposal, though complex, with Queensland government treasurer Andrew Fraser stating that “This project has the potential to deliver jobs and a boost to our economy.” Quite right: The Star City redevelopment alone will create 1,750 jobs, 1,000 of them ongoing.
In online gambling news, last week saw federal government treasurer Joe Hockey kill a bill that would allow filtering, with the specific intent of blocking Australian Internet casinos and other Internet betting in Australia.