Queensland MP Ray Stevens. Pictures: Jack Tran
Queensland MP Ray Stevens. Pictures: Jack Tran

LNP’s surprising stance on second casino

THE LNP says it does not want any more poker machines on the Gold Coast. It doesn't want a second casino either, unless it is in a "super resort"-style development.

The State Opposition yesterday revealed its policy on another casino on the Gold Coast after Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens said the city needed another slot machine in a new casino "like an alcoholic needs another brand of whiskey".

Party insiders said a casino to rival The Star at Broadbeach would need to be "epic" to get the tick.

The Star Gold Coast Masterplan Development (viewed from the West) in Broadbeach. Star has bold plans for five new towers on the site which is already home to the original Star complex and Darling suite hotel. Tower 1 starts construction in August with four proposed to come after that over the next decade.
The Star Gold Coast Masterplan Development (viewed from the West) in Broadbeach. Star has bold plans for five new towers on the site which is already home to the original Star complex and Darling suite hotel. Tower 1 starts construction in August with four proposed to come after that over the next decade.

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington told the Bulletin: "We would only support a second casino if it is part of an integrated resort development with significant public benefit assessed through a formal competitive process."

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In his budget-in-reply speech, Mr Stevens cautioned the Palaszczuk Government about supporting a Las Vegas-style model on the Glitter Strip.

He said Star Casino had invested $600 million to upgrade their Coast casino and committed over $2 billion to build Queen's Wharf in Brisbane to provide for southeast Queensland gamblers.

Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

A second casino on the Coast would impact on clubs, pubs and sporting groups which depend on the pokies for their survival, he said.

"Saying that the Gold Coast needs another slot machine is like telling an alcoholic he needs

another brand of whiskey," Mr Stevens said.

NO MORE POKIES: THE STAR GOLD COAST

The government was attempting to fatten its revenue streams to pay for ballooning debt through the addition of more gambling machines on the Coast, he said.

Mr Stevens referred to Bulletin reports which showed all forms of gambling by a plethora of clubs, pubs, sporting clubs and the Star Casino paid $2.3 billion into government coffers.

He said the government has just paid the ASF consortium $9 million in "hush money" for its failed integrated resort project on The Spit.

Member for Mermaid Beach Ray Stevens. Photo: Regi Varghese
Member for Mermaid Beach Ray Stevens. Photo: Regi Varghese

"There has been no business case provided to outline the necessity for another casino on the Gold Coast," he said.

"Nor has there been any impact study done on the effects of another couple of thousand poker machines that a new casino would need to make itself viable.

"I am aware that some have reportedly expressed a view that they would like to see the Gold Coast adopt a Las Vegas model for many casinos, but I am sure that is not the view of the vast majority of Gold Coast residents.

"Las Vegas draws on a gambling population of almost a billion people, yet the Gold Coast draws on a very small population of a half a million residents and an inbound tourism number of eight million tourists to Australia.

This file photo shows electronic poker machines inside a club. AFP PHOTO / William WEST
This file photo shows electronic poker machines inside a club. AFP PHOTO / William WEST

"If you cannot access a slot machine on the Gold Coast now, you are seriously not trying."

Southport MP Rob Molhoek said he would only support a second casino on the basis "it was part of something amazing".

"I support the party view that it has to be a major integrated resort, and as part of it there would have to be a buy back of machines and licences from other clubs. The Gold Coast already has too many machines.

"It would have to be something epic, that says it's a great asset for the city - a drawcard."

Labor says it will test the market this year for a global tourism hub on the Gold Coast, find out what the community wants and not make a decision without community consultation.

The government believes an integrated resort could be built without a casino component, that it could add 8000 jobs to the city like Brisbane's Treasury development and the opportunity should not be lost.

 

SURFERS PARADISE MP JOHN-PAUL LANGBROEK

John-Paul Langbroek. Photo by Richard Gosling
John-Paul Langbroek. Photo by Richard Gosling

"It's too simplistic to say it's just about a second casino. But our policy hasn't changed - we have an Integrated Resort Development policy which has provision for a second casino licence.

"The only people who have stuffed up the IRD process was Labor. We have always thought there could be competition for The Star notwithstanding their major investment in this city and any newcomer would have to go through all the stringent checks that they have."

 

MUDGEERABA MP ROS BATES

Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates. Picture: Regi Varghese
Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates. Picture: Regi Varghese

"Our policy has been that the proposal needs to be linked to an integrated resort. And we don't have one planned for the Gold Coast at this stage.

"Mudgeeraba locals don't go to casinos anyway, we've got enough gaming machines in our local clubs.

"Mudgeeraba is a bit different to the remainder of the coast, people don't go to the other side of the M1 unless we absolutely need to.

"So I think until such time as one is needed, that remains our policy."

 

CURRUMBIN MP JANN STUCKEY

Currumbin MP Jann Stucky. Photo: Luke Marsden.
Currumbin MP Jann Stucky. Photo: Luke Marsden.

"I remember very clearly when I was tourism minister, that we bought in a policy that was called integrated resorts. That was the best way to go forward if further casino licences were requested - and it's exactly what we did, take Aquis in Cairns as an example.

"I understand there's been so many models for casinos, cruise terminals, integrated resort developments. Clear we wanted to see a project with a resort wrapped around it, rather than a gaming establishment.

"I don't believe the policy has changed on that, so that would be what we are wanting to see for consideration.

"Having said that, we're not the Government of the day, they have put us in debt further, anything they do, increased taxes, public transport fares, different proposals, we really have to question the motive behind it.

"The fares on trains are so expensive, they're losing so much. Honest passengers are paying for the cheats,

"All I'm saying is that there has been such a lack of infrastructure build, and such a delay on things. The Gold Coast has been starved and now we're in the situation where Labor is going to borrow a bucketload of money and tax us or they'll cut corners to generate the revenue.

"I was happy with the integrated resort model in part that came from my department."

 

BURLEIGH MP MICHAEL HART

Burleigh MP Michael Hart. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Burleigh MP Michael Hart. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

"I don't think anybody's suggesting another casino, I've supported the integrated resort that's been suggested before, so if anyone wants to put that up, we'd have to look at what it entails.

"Not supporting or not, not supporting a casino. Not saying yes or no. I'm saying if someone wants to put a plan forward, that we'll look at the plan.

"There's an $83 billion dollar black hole that Queensland is facing, so I'm not surprised if there's new taxes.

"What I'm concerned about is the waste tax that's been put on everyone, and increased electricity costs."

 

BROADWATER MP DAVID CRISAFULLI

LNP member for Broadwater David Crisafulli
LNP member for Broadwater David Crisafulli

"The Labor Party has decision to make - that is if there's an application, it has to be more than a casino. It has to be an integrated resort. Can't just issue a casino licence with no ongoing benefits.

"I think that's a consistent view I've always had. Similar case in Cairns recently, you don't just issue a licence, for people to slap a few pokies around.

"It has to be more than just a casino."

 

SOUTHPORT MP ROB MOLHOEK

Southport MP Rob Molhoek. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS
Southport MP Rob Molhoek. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS

"I would only support it on the basis it was part of something amazing.

"I support the party view that it has to be a major integrated resort, and as part of it there would have to be a buyback of machines and licenses from other clubs. The Gold Coast already has too many machines.

"It would have to be something epic, that says it's a great asset for the city - a drawcard.

"I think if someone wants to do something significant on the Coast, they should look at vacant sites. There are plenty of development sites around the region, so they should come here, buy a site and not rely on the Government to give them public land to use for developments."

 

BONNEY MP SAM O'CONNOR

Bonney MP Sam O’Connor. Photo Supplied
Bonney MP Sam O’Connor. Photo Supplied

"Our policy remains the same, there would have to be something more, a major integrated resort, something that benefits the wider community.

"In general terms, with pokies I don't think we should have an increase of pokie numbers. "We've got enough machines per capita."

 

Coomera MP Michael Crandon - no response received

 

Theodore MP Mark Boothman - no response received