‘A myth’ that Coast needs second casino
STAR boss Matt Bekier has sensationally slammed plans for a rival casino, declaring it to be a myth that the city needed a global tourism hub.
In the latest salvo in the casino operator's battle against the proposal, Star have taken aim at what it calls myths surrounding the proposed multi-billion dollar development.
Mr Bekier, speaking this morning at the Gaming, Racing and Wagering Australia conference in Brisbane, said expansion of the Star's Gold Coast holdings would see no additional poker machines
He argued the Star's development already represented a global tourism hub which would negate the need for another.
"We believe our investments here in southeast Queensland is an impressive list of assets which compete well globally," he said.
"If you look at Chinese tourists coming to Australia today, this is the fastest growing source market in Australia, 20-25 per cent already come to (The Star) on the Gold Coast.
"We are able to demonstrate that a year after opening the Darling that we are booking $7.8 billion of VIP revenue. This is 2.5 times the volume that Perth gets
"This shows we have built something globally competitive."
He denied Star had a monopoly on the Gold Coast.
Mr Bekier said it was not possible for a sustainable casino business without slot machines and said visitors had no interest in staying in a "ghetto".
The hub is expected to contain a resort containing about 2500 rooms, all three-and-a-half star, below The Star's new stock and designed for short three-day stays, with a focus on big entertainment and providing a concert stadium.
A list of 11 sites have been short-listed.
But Mr Bekier said he did not believe there was numerous suitable sites available for the development, which he said needed to be at least 10ha in size.
He cited Southport's Carey Park, one of the short-listed sites, with a development of that size wiping out the entire park.
He also reiterated his previous statement that the Star would be unlikely to develop many of its proposed extra facilities if it was forced to compete against another casino.
The tourism hub project is expected to go before Cabinet in coming weeks and will potentially go to market if ticked off.
The Gold Coast Bulletin on Saturday quoted a casino project insider who said less than one third of the space in the proposed second casino for the Gold Coast would be used for gaming machines.
Casino insiders said the project's poker machines would be sourced from more than 1450 unactivated licences across southeast Queensland.
The Star hit back on Monday, demanding Tourism Minister Kate Jones once and for all rule out any possibility of extra machines being allowed in any global tourism hub development.
Mr Bekier used his address to talk up Star's $9 billion investment in southeast Queensland, including its $2 billion masterplan and Queens Wharf integrated resort in Brisbane.
Construction has begun on the $450 million Dorsett Hotel tower which will also include the Star Residences apartments.
More than 88 per cent of the units have already been sold, Mr Bekier said.
Mr Bekier used his speech to slam the failed Aquis development in Cairns and ASF's dumped Gold Coast casino on The Spit which he said delivered zero investment for the city.