Move over Singapore, Vegas and Macau – Australia is emerging as the latest hotspot for casino operators as they look to attract Chinese high rollers to gambling tables and popular tourism spots like the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays.
And with billions in tourist dollars at stake, several casino complexes have been backed in both Queensland and New South Wales.
They’re at various stages of planning with high-profile projects including the $A8.15 billion Aquis resort near Cairns.
The government believes projects like it will create jobs and bring in tax dollars, despite potential social impacts and obvious environmental concerns.
Aquis will open in 2018, while a licence which recently granted to another major project, ASF’s Broadwater Marine Project on the Gold Coast.
It’s all in a bid to get a bigger slice of the massive Chinese tourist market and figures released by Tourism Australia show Chinese visitor spending will hit $A13 billion by 2020.
Anti-gambling campaigners are unhappy though and suggest that casinos are largely funded by locals – which will cause huge problems for the community with problem gambling on the rise.
Do we really want a casino economy and tourism industry modelled on casino resorts surrounded by six star hotels and upmarket retail, restaurant, convention and entertainment facilities such as projects proposed for Brisbane, Sydney and elsewhere? And what about the social impact? Comment below or contact firstname.lastname@example.org