Rocky road for new casino

Developers planning to build the state’s fifth casino in Rockhampton face an uphill battle.

They must first convince the State Government to change its casino policy and then get past local clubs who are against the proposal.

A spokesman for Acting Premier Anna Bligh said yesterday that it was not government policy to allow another casino in Queensland, „but that does not mean someone cannot apply“.

The State Government’s takings from gaming are expected to top USD 1 billion a year by 2008-09.

The boutique casino is included in a multimillion-dollar riverfront development – part of a building boom in the state’s beef capital driven by the thriving mining industry.

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said she was excited by the proposal, which would cater for cashed-up miners.

But Clubs Queensland says it would damage existing clubs and take money from the area.

Executive officer Geoff Parker said there was probably already an over-supply of licensed Rockhampton venues.

„Our main concern would be for the detriment to the broader community,“ he said.

„Clubs are not-for-profit and give surpluses back to the community.“

If it gets the go-ahead from councillors and the State Government, the casino, which proponents say will boost the city’s appeal to visitors and create hundreds of new jobs, will join casinos in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Townsville and Cairns.

Developers Millerview Constructions Ltd and Antiquaire Ltd say: „The proposed hotel and function facility will attract business conventions and entertainment opportunities from around the globe, increasing Rockhampton’s profile and cementing a future as the indisputable capital of Central Queensland.“

They say the boutique casino would be „smaller in scale than those in Brisbane or Cairns but of a similar standard“.