The Star Threatens to Reconsider Massive Queensland Expansion if Second Gold Coast Casino Gets OK

The casino company has urged the Palaszczuk Government to “fully embrace” a partnership that could bring A$9 billion in investment to the state

Australian casino operator The Star Entertainment Group has warned the Queensland Government that it could reconsider its plan to inject nearly A$9 billion in development projects across the state, should state lawmakers approve a second casino in the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reported on Wednesday that The Star Queensland Managing Director Geoff Hogg has sent a letter to state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her ministers, urging the Cabinet to “assess the costs of discontinuing a true industry partnership between the Palaszczuk Government and The Star that will leverage statewide benefits” and to “fully embrace” that partnership.

Mr. Hogg penned the letter in the wake of news reports that the Government was gearing up to issue a license for a second casino in the Gold Coast. The Star operates The Star Gold Coast (formerly Jupiters Hotel and Casino), a hotel and casino resort located in the Broadbeach suburb on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

The property is currently undergoing what has become known as the first phase of a multi-billion renovation and expansion. Earlier this month, the Queensland Government approved additional phases of the masterplan that would see The Star and its Hong Kong partners Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium pour billions of dollars into the transformation of the Gold Coast property into a sprawling integrated resort.

The first phase of the project began in 2016 and involves the construction of a 53-story hotel and residential tower that will herald the entry of the Dorsett hotel brand to Australia. The tower is expected to open in 2022. Under the recently approved masterplan, four more towers will be opened progressively at the complex every two years. The Star said that once the scheme is complete, its Gold Coast resort would feature 3,000 hotel rooms to eclipse the regionally popular Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

The Star, together with its Hong Kong development partners, is also building a A$3-billion integrated resort in Queen’s Wharf, Brisbane.

Hard Rock Vies for Gold Coast Expansion

According to recent reports, the Japan office of gaming and hospitality company Hard Rock International has given the green light to a potential expansion to Australia’s Gold Coast. It is also believed that the company has been discussing its expansion plans, which include the development of a A$2-billion casino resort, with the Queensland Government.

Media reports suggest that Premier Palaszczuk’s Cabinet is likely to provide more information about the potential granting of a second Gold Coast casino license next month.

In his letter to the Government, The Star Queensland General Manager cited a recent research by Macquarie, according to which a second Gold Coast casino would struggle to deliver return of more than A$400 million. The casino official pointed out that with “this new independent evidence,” the Queensland Government should “fully embrace” the partnership it has been offered by his company.

According to the results from a new poll by ReachTel, 68% of Gold Coast residents were against a new casino or the addition of more poker machines as part of any developments in the region. The Star has previously said that its massive expansion at The Star Gold Coast would not involve the addition of pokies, as the gaming machines are locally known.

The company has also pointed out in previous comments that its A$2-billion Gold Coast investment is heavily dependent “on the market and competitor landscape at the time.”

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