Queensland mayor wants a new casino operator if Star Entertainment is suspended

Published on: October 7, 2022, 08:20 a.m.

Last update: October 7, 2022, 11:07 a.m.

Now that Queensland has determined that Star Entertainment does not deserve to have a casino license in the state, there is a possibility that it could be suspended. This would be bad news for tourism and revenue, which has prompted the Mayor of the Gold Coast to lobby against the operator’s exclusivity.

Mayor of Gold Coast Tom Tate
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate speaks to reporters at a news conference. He now wants to convince Queensland that Star Entertainment shouldn’t have exclusive rights to casinos in the state. (Image: the Australian)

Star and Crown Resorts, Australia’s leading casino operators, are at the center of a major scandal involving stories of money laundering, racketeering and more. Until now, they have operated with almost virtual immunity.

This, according to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, was because they had no competition in their exclusive areas. So the only way to clean up the casino culture in Australia is to bring in more casinos.

More casinos for a cleaner industry

Australia ABC News reports that Tate is campaigning for Queensland to add at least one additional casino licensee. If Star were to lose its licenses to The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane, the state would lose significant revenue.

The mayor pointed out that monopolies never foster a good environment for consumers. He added that healthy competition improves the consumer experience and can also prevent monopolies from becoming too complacent.

Monopolies never provide the best environment for consumers, be it airlines, supermarkets, resorts or casinos.” Tate said. “The choice creates healthy competition and gives customers better access to entertainment, world-class cuisine, accommodations and experiences.”

Queensland has previously considered adding at least one casino licensee. Four years ago he opened the door to see if there was any interest from potential operators, but closed it in 2020. Since then, there has been no real discussion about expansion until now.

When he released his discovery in 2018, the state received a lot of positive responses. Reportedly, there were at least 11 businesses that showed interest in being a part of what would have eventually become Global Tourism Centers in the state. Many are likely to return now if Queensland were to revive the discussion.

Even if Star continues to operate, adding another casino would have additional benefits. It would potentially create around 8,000 jobs, according to the mayor.

Changes coming to Queensland

The fallout from the Star and Crown debacle has forced changes in Australia’s gaming industry. States are introducing new regulators and penalties, and operators will remain under constant scrutiny.

Queensland is also not done transforming its gaming industry. Following his investigation of Star, he is beginning to consider a dozen changes, in addition to the ones he has already introduced.

Some of these are aimed at Star, while others are general updates to guide the entire ecosystem. Star will also help shape the outcome of the reforms as it prepares to explain why it should keep its license.

Queensland could suspend or revoke Star’s license. The company is now drafting a response as to why neither scenario is necessary. The details it provides could be used to help define future gaming operations in the state.

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