Great Keppel Island Casino Proposal Dismissed by Queensland Government

The future of a proposed integrated resort on Queensland’s Great Keppel Island has turned into a hot topic of discussion among the parties running for the upcoming state election. Developers of the project have been asking for a license for a small boutique casino.

Sydney-based real estate company Tower Holdings is behind the proposal for a A$600-million complex on the Central Queensland island. The company plans to build a 200-room hotel and a number of other accommodation and entertainment facilities as part of the resort. The developer has repeatedly said over the years that the addition of a small gambling venue with 35 gaming tables will help it realize the whole project and eventually turn the Great Keppel Island into a popular destination for high roller players from the Asia-Pacific region.

The One Nation party, one of the runners for the upcoming election, has stated its support for the multi-million dollar scheme and has said that the future of the resort would be a “deal breaker” during discussions over the formation of the state’s new government.

On the other hand, the governing Labor party has said that it would not back the addition of a casino to the resort.

Labor Party’s Plans for Casino Expansion in Queensland

Late last month, the Labor party opened an expression of interest process for international developers who are interested to operate a casino resort in the city of Cairns. The government is also planning to issue a casino license for the Gold Coast area. The Gold Coast license was vacated after state officials rejected a proposal from Chinese-backed investor group ASF Consortium to build and integrated resort on the Gold Coast waterfront.

State Treasurer Curtis Pitt has said recently that the government had already decided what the best casino locations would be and that Great Keppel was not among their preferred locations.

Labor MP Brittany Lauga, who is representing the Central Queensland island in the state government, has stated her opinion on the matter, arguing that One Nation and the Liberal National Party were only trying to bluff voters.

According to Ms. Lauga, Tower Holdings has failed to build different accommodation facilities on the island as part of an agreement with the government for more than eight years. Talking to local media, she has further pointed out that the island has been losing 200,000 tourists each year after the closure of a previous Tower Holdings resort.

As stated by the Labor MP, the state government has tried to assist Tower Holdings in developing the island over the past several years and that developer has delayed development work. The politician has also explained that a casino proposal for the Great Keppel Island should have the support of a major gambling operator like the local Crown Resorts and The Star Entertainment Group, in order be considered and possibly issued a license. Tower Holdings’ proposal has not attracted interest from any of the above or other major casino companies so far.

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