JAMES Packer is determined to build a second casino in Brisbane and has told the Newman Government that in order to attract more tourists and more business the city needs to compete with major Asian tourist destinations by thinking bigger.
He has been lobbying Premier Campbell Newman about the $1 billion-plus project which would form part of the redevelopment of government buildings in George and William streets in the CBD.
“Brisbane deserves much better than its current casino offering and Crown’s performance in building and operating high end luxury resorts in Australia is unrivalled,” says Packer.
Conrad Treasury Casino owners, Echo Entertainment, recently unveiled their own plans to redevelop the site as part of a major expansion for the current casino. Unfortunately a proposal put forward by Echo to move the casino or build a second casino has been rejected by the majority of Queenslanders.
The State Government has revealed that it will consider all options, a move that pits Crown against Echo Entertainment.
A spokesman for Jeff Seeney, State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister, says a decision regarding the casino options would be made in September.
Echo Entertainment CEO John Redmond is adamant that the Conrad Treasury will continue to be the only casino in Brisbane.
“It should be one casino and one city, and that’s it,” he says.
At present, each major capital city in Australia only boasts one casino, so if the Crown’s push to build a second casino in Brisbane is successful, it will set a precedent for the rest of the nation.
Australia’s tourism sector has been pushing capital cities to urgently upgrade their hotels, resorts and tourist attractions in order to take advantage of the wealth of opportunity emerging from China and to meet the growing international demand.
However when contacted, Tourism Queensland was unwilling to provide comment on its standing in regards to a second casino for Brisbane until there is a clear position from the State Government.
A spokesperson from Crown Resorts says Brisbane needs to focus firmly on Asia and the opportunity provided by the emerging Chinese middle-class.
“Brisbane needs to compete not just with Sydney and Melbourne, but also tourist destinations like Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai,” the spokesperson says.
“Our resorts provide a total entertainment experience with five-star international hotels, find dining restaurants, high-end retail, movie theatres, banqueting, bars as well as gaming. That is the successful formula Brisbane urgently needs.”
“In relation to architecture and procurement, Crown has a history of working closely with local businesses and is a strong part of the community it serves.”
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