QUEENSLAND casinos risk becoming venues frequented only by desperate punters unless major upgrades of the properties are undertaken, the country’s major casino operator has warned.
In an exclusive interview in this month’s edition of Gold Coast Business News, Larry Mullin (pictured), CEO of ASX-listed Echo Entertainment, says Queensland casinos need to be revived and renovated to attract more locals and international tourists.
Echo, the operator of Queensland’s three casinos – Treasury Brisbane, Jupiters Gold Coast and Jupiters Townsville (as well as Star City in Sydney) – has become embroiled in State Government plans announced this week to redevelop the William and George streets precinct in the CBD.
The government has rejected Echo’s proposal to redevelop the site of the former State Library into a 400-room luxury hotel. The new hotel would be linked to the Treasury casino by a skywalk and could also include an exclusive, six-star high rollers facility targeted at some of the world’s wealthiest gamblers .
Mullin says Echo is continuing to work with the government on options to renovate the Treasury Casino.
He insists the casino needs to offer more than gaming options and poker machines, saying the company has a high priority on top-quality entertainment, restaurants and accommodation.
“If the casual customer doesn’t rate the entire experience, then the only ones who are going to show up are the hardcore gamblers who just go straight to the gaming area.’’ Mullin says.
Mullin tells Gold Coast Business News that the state’s casinos must start winning back people he calls ‘rejecters’ – those Queenslanders who for an array of reasons don’t consider casinos as destinations they might like to visit.
“We are not on the radar of these rejecters and we need to change that – and change it fast,’’ he says.
Mullin says an over-stimulation of the lower end of the market in years past only reinforced the negative view of casinos currently held by some Queenslanders. He says it is time for Queensland casinos to go upmarket.
“We need to change the physical condition of the properties to get people interested in them and we are doing that,’’ he says.
Read the full and frank interview with Mullin only in Gold Coast Business News – on sale now at a newsagent near you.
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