Queensland Mayor Wants New Casino Operator if Star Entertainment Suspended

Posted on: October 7, 2022, 08:20h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2022, 11:07h.

Now that Queensland has determined that Star Entertainment doesn’t deserve to hold a casino license in the state, there’s a chance it faces suspension. This would spell bad news for tourism and revenue, which has led the mayor of Gold Coast to lobby against the operator’s exclusivity.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate talks to reporters in a press conference. He now wants to convince Queensland that Star Entertainment shouldn’t have casino exclusivity in the state. (Image: The Australian)

Star and Crown Resorts, the leading casino operators in Australia, are at the center of a major scandal involving tales of money laundering, organized crime, and more. Until now, they’ve operated with almost virtual immunity.

This, according to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, was because they had no competition in their exclusive areas. Therefore, the only way to clean up Australia’s casino culture is to bring in more casinos.

More Casinos for a Cleaner Industry

Australia’s ABC News reports that Tate is campaigning for Queensland to add at least one additional casino licensee. If Star were to lose its licenses for The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane, the state would miss out on significant revenue.

The mayor noted that monopolies never foster good environments for consumers. He added that healthy competition improves the consumer experience and can also prevent the monopolies from becoming too complacent.

Monopolies never provide the best environment for consumers, whether it is airlines, supermarkets, resorts or casinos,” Tate said. “Choice creates healthy competition and gives patrons better access to entertainment, world-class cuisine, accommodation, and experiences.”

Queensland has previously considered adding at least one casino licensee. Four years ago, it opened the door to discover if there was any interest from potential operators, but closed it in 2020. Since then, there has been no real discussion about expansion until now.

When it launched its discovery in 2018, the state received many positive responses. There were reportedly at least 11 companies that showed interest in being part of what would eventually have become Global Tourism Hubs in the state. It’s likely that many would return now if Queensland were to revive the discussion.

Even if Star continues to operate, adding another casino would have additional benefits. It would potentially create around 8,000 jobs, according to the mayor.

Changes Coming to Queensland

The fallout from the Star and Crown debacle has forced changes across Australia’s gaming industry. States are introducing new regulators and penalties, and operators are going to remain under constant scrutiny.

Queensland isn’t done transforming its gaming industry, either. Following its inquiry into Star, it is beginning to consider a dozen changes, in addition to those it already introduced.

Some of these are directed at Star, while others are general updates to guide the entire ecosystem. Star will also help shape the outcome of the reforms as it prepares to explain why it should retain its license.

Queensland could suspend or revoke Star’s license. The company is now drafting a response about why neither scenario is necessary. The details it delivers could be used to help define gaming operations in the state going forward.