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Friday, March 26, 2010

Australia's Mildura Likely To Get Casino; Jobs And Tourism Boost, by Greg Tingle - 27th March 2010

Australia's Mildura is likely to get a new land based casino, with jobs and a tourism boost as part of the deal.

Victorian Premier John Brumby has described plans for a casino in Mildura as a "high-quality proposal".

Media Man and Gambling911 have noted that Australian casino and resort developers are more positive and optimistic than most on a global scale, with parts of the Las Vegas Strip, Atlantic City and Dubai looking like "train wrecks" with casino developers going bust or projects going "on hold" for numerous years.

The developer has been consulting with Mildura residents and business folks outlining the benefits that would come with his project.

Casino developer John Haddad has released design plans to mixed responses.

The name proposed for the casino is the 'Mildura Jewel'.

The $400 million hotel and casino development to be situated next to the Murray River was likely to include "a couple of hundred poker machines and 40 to 50 tables".

Mr Haddad, who has developed five other casinos, said the project would be a tourist drawcard.

"It's good, good, good. It's employment and it generates tourism and it does all the things that Mildura has been trying to do," he advised.

Mr Brumby said yesterday there was nothing to stop a second casino opening in Mildura.

He said the government would consider a second casino only "if there was clear community support and if there was clear bipartisan support". He added: "I have always said personally that I think it is the sort of thing that would attract jobs and investment to the area. So I think it will be good to have the community debate. We will see how people think about this issue in Mildura."

Ross Douglass, of the community group Sunraysia Against Casinos, said many people were opposed to a casino for a range of reasons, including the "collateral damage" it would do to other businesses in the area.

"Some have had bad-luck stories with gambling. If not, they know other people who have," he said.

"I am against it because I believe it is going to bring a lot of [social] damage."

The group has invited Senator Nick Xenophon, Tim Costello and anti-pokies campaigner Paul Bendat to a meeting in Mildura next month.

At this stage James Packer's Crown Limited is not expected to get involved or plans to build their own casino in the region, despite rumors of the country.

Australians remain on the top ten list of land based and online casino players and Victorian are the most passionate and highest spending of all of the Aussie states.

* Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

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

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