Queensland Casinos Won’t Have to Cut Hours as Government Shoots Down Idea

Posted on: May 25, 2022, 05:38h. 

Last updated on: May 25, 2022, 11:04h.

The idea that casinos in Queensland, Australia, should close early to limit alcohol sales has received a resounding “No.” News outlet In Queensland reports that the government won’t entertain the notion, as casinos play a huge role in international tourism.

Jupiters Hotel and Casino
Jupiters Hotel and Casino in Queensland, Australia. It and other casinos in the state don’t need to worry about having their operating hours reduced. (Image: Queensland Australia)

The Queensland government rejected the recommendation to limit casino trading hours in the state, a measure put forth as part of its efforts to reduce alcohol-fueled violence. In response to an assessment of its Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence policy, the government stated that casinos in the state are already under significant scrutiny and have greater security than other venues.

The government also believes that removing 24-hour trading hours would not be compatible with its plans to create a “new world city” for Brisbane, according to Wednesday’s response. This is the same position the government has held since 2019, when it stated it would explore ways to involve casinos in safe night precinct safety management.

Casino Action Too Important

A recommendation to close all safe-night precinct venues at 3:30 AM was not supported. The Queensland government feels that closing late-trading venues at that time, following a 3 AM cutoff of alcohol sales, is counterproductive. This, it asserts, would strike an appropriate regulatory equilibrium.

The government did not endorse one recommendation of the review. Instead, it rejected a proposal for a public expert to evaluate the Queens Wharf casino’s impact on alcohol-fueled violence.

The government has taken key measures to move the closing hour of alcohol sales from 5 AM to 3 AM in “safe night precincts.” There are also now mandatory ID scanners for large venues.

As a result, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stated that there has been a 49% drop in serious assaults between 3 AM and 6 AM on Fridays and Saturdays across Queensland. She added that there has been a 52% drop in the number of assaults in Fortitude Valley, one of Queensland’s most popular precincts.

One recommendation that survived the government’s review is a ban on entry to public venues. Queensland’s approximately half a dozen casinos, bars and other locations that operate after midnight will have access to a list of banned individuals.

The properties can then determine whether to allow the person in. Those individuals can find themselves on the list for a number of reasons, including public intoxication, violence, and more.

Queen’s Wharf Vital to Economy

Star Entertainment is a major backer of Queen’s Wharf’s AU$3.6-billion (US$2.55 billion) development. It will move its Brisbane casino from the current location in The Treasury Building to the waterfront project. There, it will offer up to 2,500 gambling machines and possibly hundreds of gaming tables.

That, of course, is contingent upon Star retaining its casino license in Queensland. An ongoing inquiry in New South Wales (NSW) already confirmed accusations that the company lied to financial and casino regulators about how it managed its business. It is also guilty of involvement in money laundering activity.

When Crown Resorts went through the same inquiry, it was left without a license in NSW. Other states that conducted their own inquiries, Victoria and Western Australia, only put the company on probation for two years.

The latter outcome, should Star come under investigation in Queensland, is the likely result. The state has invested too much into Queen’s Wharf. This is partially with the confidence that it could use a Star casino as an anchor.

The government wouldn’t be willing to risk that investment by suspending Star’s license. However, it could still force it to answer for any proven violations in order to protect its public image.