The Queensland government has put an end to negotiations for a global tourism hub and a second casino license on the Gold Coast.
The city’s sole operator, The Star Entertainment Group, had been in exclusive talks with the state government for a monopoly deal, but state development minister Kate Jones on Saturday announced that government had finished its negotiations with The Star.
“Global market conditions are clearly impacting investment at present, and I can confirm that this government has no intention of reviving the market process for a new integrated resort— including a second casino— on the Gold Coast,” Jones said.
On talk of plans for a Gold Coast global tourism hub, Jones said the deal did “not stack up for taxpayers”.
“We were not able to reach consensus around the terms for long-term casino license exclusivity,” she said.
The Star has casino operations in Queensland and New South Wales, including The Treasury casino in Brisbane, and The Star Sydney in Pyrmont.
Last year, The Star offered to pay for the upgrade of the Gold Coast Convention Centre, as well as upgrades to its Sheraton Mirage, in exchange for exclusivity as the Gold Coast’s sole casino operator.
Jones said the end of exclusive negotiations— along with the end of the Global Tourism Hub market process — enables the group to move on with its multi-billion-dollar investments in southeast Queensland, including the $2 billion-plus Star Grand Gold Coast master plan for five more towers at Broadbeach.
The Star has touted this would generate up to 9,000 construction jobs, add an extra 650 hotel rooms and 2,000 luxury apartments to the glitter strip by 2038.
In response to the state’s announcement, The Star’s chairman John O’Neill said the company and its partners had committed around AU$4.5 billion (US$3.2 billion) to tourism in southeast Queensland through its investments in Queen's Wharf in Brisbane, the refurbishing of the Gold Coast's The Star Grand hotel, and the Dorsett Hotel and Star Residences currently under construction, as “proof” of the group's commitment to creating a tourism and entertainment destination.
Earlier this year, the Star Entertainment Group stood down a majority of its staff in March, suspending 90 percent— some 8,000 workers— as a result of the shutdown measures of all non-essential businesses.
It’s expected that its casino revenue will be down by between 10 to 12 percent while international borders remain closed.
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