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Monday, September 20, 2010

Australian Casino Wars: Gold Coast MP Behind Jupiters Casino, by Greg Tingle - 20th September 2010

The Australian casino wars show no sign of slowing down and keep taking off in new tangents with political 'art of war' tactics taking hold on the Gold Coast. The tourism, employment and supporting big business card is being played out, something competitor Crown Casino did to T, while the casino haters also ramp up their campaigns. Media Man and Gambling911 play 'Casino Jack' as we ride the wave into Surfers' Paradise with a tidal wave of Gold Coast fodder for the loyal and vast audience...

Gold Coast Minister of Parliament Ray 'Sure Thing' (Media Man tag) Stevens has rocketed the Bligh Government, strongly urging it to get right behind Tabcorp's planned $300 million revamp and expansion of Jupiter's Hotel and Casino to surge the city's roller coaster like construction industry.

Could be this a bit of real life Underbelly at play? As usual, only part of the real story will make the news, with only some Chinese whispers and 'dark side' x factor seeing the light of day. Make no mistake, casinos in Australia have a bit of a 'Casino Jack' and 'Underbelly' side to them, as Gambling911, Media Man, friends and spies keep finding out the more they probe.

Stevens advised the Government should get over its "electoral jitters" and grant Jupiters Casino more pokie licences so that the upgrade could proceed full steam ahead captain courageous.

He firmly spoke to the State Parliament this week Tabcorp's proposal to redevelop Jupiters showed passionate belief in the city at a time when business confidence was the lowest in a decade.

"Jupiters Casino is an iconic tourism attraction for the Gold Coast, but is in desperate need of an upgrade to compete with southern state casinos. We have to accept the economic reality that there will be no change to existing casino facilities without the financial incentive to fund these upgrades. Government should be oblivious to the short-term media pain of a necessary decision."

Treasurer Andrew 'Beancounter' (MM tag) Fraser said Tabcorp's proposed investment had an 'exciting' potential to deliver jobs and a life to tourism infrastructure on the Gold Coast.

He said "This is a massive proposal and one that obviously has many issues to consider. The Government is not poll driven. We will make a decision in the interests of Queensland. That means, as ever, balancing the interests of economic development with the interests of the community such as adequate control on gambling."

Tabcorp is seriously considering spending up to $600 million on Jupiters and Brisbane's Treasury casino but the amount it throws around gets down to securing permission to buy the rights to machines the Government has taken back, or otherwise be able to purchase existing one armed bandits and licences from pubs and clubs in Queensland.

Media Man and G911 understands that 1000 gaming licences would be required across both casinos for the $600 million plan. If the extra licences were not not in fact granted, for whatever reason, Tabcorp most likely would downgrade its total spend to a modest $150 million. This would leave it further behind competitor Crown Limited, famous for its Crown Casino in Melbourne.

A public - press announcement is expected before the end of the year. Well, Christmas is coming.

Stevens told Parliament that failure to grant the extra licences would result in 'second-rate casinos being the hallmark of Queensland'. Yep, second rate banana benders, in a second rate second skin scenario. Well, we heard there was something in the water up that way.

"Yes, there is community sentiment that enough is enough in the growth of slot machines throughout Queensland. Should this be the reason to reject the enhancement of our major tourism casino icons, which are by their very nature designated gambling destinations? No is the clear and unequivocal answer. This is about jobs, jobs, jobs for the Gold Coast."

It's hard to argue against the jobs and tourism cards, something our friends at GenerationOne and Crown Limited have become masters of the art at.

We're not sure Jupiters gets a special $1 a year rent deal... not likely, so you can't blame them for wanting a bigger slice of the action.

Reef Hotel and Casino in far North Queensland is not commenting at the moment, and the Aus Vegas proposal pitched a few months back has gone quite, but insiders tip it may be a "Sleeping Giant", just as James Packer and Media Man generals have been called over the years. Brace yourselves punters, heavy incoming is expected in the 'Age Of Aquarius'.

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Australian 'Gumleaf Mafia', Media Man and Gambling911 crew hear of more Americans on the way to show the Aussies how its done - running land based casinos. Talk persists that Australian former Prime Minster John Howard may land a major job in Australia as part of the anti corruption in Australian sports betting directive. Cricket, AFL, NRL and Tennis are all under the microscope. The Blue Carpet to be rolled out from the AFL Brownlow Medal at Crown Casino. Lots of footy and casino babes. Should be an awesome afterparty, even without 'Punter Fev'. Aussie business and horse racing tycoon John Singleton, and Network Nine top gun David Gyngell to get a proposal from a certain media man sooner rather than later, with a strong charity and giving back to the community element we hear. Yep, the political, media and people power fun and games has only just begin. What happens on the Gold Coast and Bondi Beach, does not stay "down under". Quite the opposite of the motto of our friends in Vegas and what happens in Vegas... you know the drum folks. Surfs up kangaroos, koalas, goannas, sea snakes, serpents and all manner of Aussie and Yankee critters.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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