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Australian Political Casino Wars

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:
Jun/07/2010

Australian casino "wars" continue, as a new political element enter the arena. Media Man and Gambling911 had recently covered the "friendly" casino wars between James Packer's Melbourne based Crown Casino and Tabcorp owned Star City Sydney, but now it seems the unfriendly fire is coming from the New South Wales government. By default, Melbourne wins another round against Sydney as the casino 'State Of Origin' continues.

Star City top brass asked for the pokies to pay for a massive redevelopment. In exchange, they had promised a $65 million "entertainment centre" (10 minutes down the road from the original Sydney Entertainment Centre) which major international acts could benefit from. Media Man and Gambling911 had previously pointed to the likes of UFC, WWE, KISS, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Crusty Demons and others, but these headlines may have to make do with existing facilities in Sydney for now.

 

The proposal tabled, which would permit Star to compete on a level playing field with Packer's Crown Casino, would have been in addition to the well publicised $575 million casino upgrade that is on the go, Gulfstream Jets, $100 million "sports bar" etc al.

Leaks pointed to Treasurer Eric Roozendaal, who had expressed interest in the concept as a way to raise gaming tax revenue after meeting Star City execs.

Earlier, Star City spokesman Peter Grimshaw said advised "We're looking to build an events centre which would hold about 4000 people and it could host some really big international events and we're looking at varying funding options with the Government. We're hoping we can fund it without cost to the taxpayer. At this stage the Government has given no indication it will agree to it. What we have got approved is a $575 million upgrade."

 

Star City was keen to purchase 1000 pokies from the Government so money earned from them could fund the $65 million centre. Yes, there's that much moolah to be made in the pokies aka "one armed bandits".

Star's newly appointed MD Sid Vaikunta had previously advised a $640 million revamp was needed because the casino was treated by the public as an "RSL club on steroids", but Media Man insiders say the term being used more frequently was "Pyrmont Workers Club".

The casino is currently building a five-star hotel as part of the upgrade and desires to elevate visitor numbers from 24,000 a day to approximately double that figure...what Crown Casino attracts. Packer's Crown aka 'World Of Entertainment' has about 2500 poker machines, compared with Star's 1500.

In a legal 'Casino Jack' type fashion Star City is understood to have lobbied Opposition politicians, with mixed results.

Wind father time back 2 years to 2007...a 12-year deal to allow Star City Casino to function as the only (legal) casino in New South Wales, it paid the Government $100 million and was permitted up to 140 extra gaming tables. Under the deal gaming tax was also raised from 24.1 per cent to 27.5 per cent in 2013.

Today NSW Premier Keneally poured cold water on the extra pokies component.

"Today I can rule out the 1000 extra poker machines," the Premier advised in a media statement.

Something tells us that Team James Packer - Crown Limited are not going to loose any sleep over the news.

In the meantime, much of the coastal regions of Sydney and Melboune are experiencing rain, and the water connection continues up to Macau with Packer's City Of Dreams announcing 'The House of Dancing Water'. Yep, Star City news is likely water off a duck's back to the powers that be at Crown. 

Journey up north to Queensland and Team Terri Irwin and her Australia Zoo are gaining interest to see a Aussie Crocodile A Mania hunter type extravaganza be developed on the Las Vegas Strip, a move that would see both Aussies and Yankees employed, with insiders saying up to a 1000 jobs being created.

As the Australian casino wars play out and start to take on a more international scope, just who will shed Crocodile Tears remains to been seen. As is always the case, winners will be grinners.

Guess we'll be seeing you at one of the Crown Casino bars soon.

Stay tuned to Media Man and Gambling911, as we will soon be releasing more information into the proposed Crown Casino sponsorship of the Melbourne Storm. Storm in a teacup, hype, or fair dinkum the real deal? You be the judge, jury and executioner! 

NSW VS QLD NRL State Of Origin match round 2 next Monday punters. Cheers me maties.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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