Tabcorp Casinos Hit Political Jackpot In QLD, by Greg Tingle - 11th December 2010

Punters, casino and gambling millionaires, billionaires, insiders, outsiders, politicians, journalists and everyone else. Think Australia's land cased casino and hotel growth is over yet? Think again. Gaming powerhouse Tabcorp has hit the jackpot in the banana bender state of Queensland, in Australia's north east, with at least three massive casino and hotel renovations booked. What's the secret? Some strong political will by the Queensland state government it would appear, and maybe just a dash of lady luck. Media Man and Gambling911 report of the good fortune that Tabcorp is enjoying in The Sunshine State...

Tabcorp To Upgrade 3 Land Based Casinos In Queensland With $625 Million Investment...

A massive $625 million bet will be taken by Tabcorp on Queensland's tourism industry with huge renovations to at least 3 of the state's land based casinos.

The upgrade will involved new flashy five-star hotels, world class restaurants and much improved gaming - gambling facilities will be added to casinos in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and north most Townsville.

The Queensland Bligh Government has not announced it has reached an agreement with Tabcorp and the pub arm to permit an additional 500 pokies into the 2 southeast Queensland casinos.

The total number of pokies allowed in Queensland will not actually increase, as they will be transferred from the lot earmarked to hotels.

In a trade off of sorts, hotels have achieved numerous tax concessions out of the Government for the loss of poker machines from their allocation.

Premier Anna Bligh advised the investment was a sign of confidence in the state's tourism industry.

"This major redevelopment is a great leap forward for our tourism industry, providing yet another drawcard to our cities while boosting jobs in the construction and gaming industries. Tabcorp's proposal is timely, particularly for the Gold Coast, coinciding with the Government's bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games."

Tabcorp would commence construction on the Gold Coast and in Townsville next year, Tabcorp spokeswoman Michelle Pillonel shared.

It is planning a 400-room, five-star hotel on the traditional State Library land at 1159 William St.

It's named as being Brisbane's first new hotel in a decade. A walkway would connect up the hotel with the casino.

We've learned that the exact time frame for construction is currently not known as Tabcorp are yet to apply for planning approvals and will be required to consult over the heritage character statue of the prime positioned site.

The hotel will also get the sort of things a casino whale VIP might like such as a spa, nightspot, ballroom, four restaurants and all of Treasury Casino's VIP gaming facilities. Should keep the whales happy we think.

Pillonel advised the Brisbane revamp was aimed at luring Asian high rollers aka "whales" from state-of-the-art gaming facilities in Singapore and Macau.

"This will be of that kind of standard. With the property in Brisbane in particular, we're looking at really competing on the international stage," she said.

Treasury will also add to the pool of high-end hotel rooms in Brisbane city, of which there are a "critical shortage", Pillonel advised.

Swinging down to the water, the $350 million upgrade of Jupiters on the Gold Coast also includes a new five-star hotel, with approximately 200 rooms.

The site will get 8 new restaurants and bars, a nightclub, spa and pool, beachfront club, a bigger main ballroom and main gaming floor, plus new VIP gambling area.

Another $15 million bucks will be spent on an upgrade of Townsville's casino.

Even though Tabcorp secured 50% the number of extra machines it had wanted, its $625 million injection equals the budget outlined.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser said "No increase in poker machine numbers, new attractions and accommodation for tourism, and a massive investment to stimulate employment, is a win-win-win for Queensland."

We tend to agree, and it will be interesting to see the impact the QLD activity has on the Australian casino wars.

Jupiters Hotel and Casino On Gold Coast To Get 500 More One Armed Bandits...

Tabcorp has upped its investment in the redevelopment of Jupiters Hotel and Casino to $350 million after the State Government approved 500 more pokie licences for the company.

Tabcorp announced in October that it would only proceed with half...roughly $175 million...of its overall vision for Jupiters and nothing would be done at its other casinos in Queensland unless an agreement was reached on slot numbers.

But the State Government announced it had done a deal with Tabcorp for an extra 500 machines...paving the way for a major redevelopment of 3 of the giant's casinos.

In work scheduled to start early next year, Tabcorp was already building eight new restaurants and bars at its Gold Coast property, expanding and improve the gaming area and constructing a nightclub and luxury spa.

But get this... it will now also add a 5-star, 200 room hotel as well.

The redevelopment work is expected to be finished in roughly 2015.

As part of a total investment of $625 million state-wide, the gambling giant will also built a five-star hotel at Treasury Casino in Brisbane and upgrade the gaming areas and existing hotel rooms.

The Jupiters Hotel at Townsville is also being refurbished and will get 8 new restaurants and bars.

Premier Anna Bligh welcomed Tabcorp's investment yesterday and said it was a sign of confidence in the state's tourism industry.

Townsville Casino To Get Massive Revamp; Tabcorp Widens Net For Whales...

Townsville will be on the radar of high-rollers aka "whales" from Asia as the catch will be delivered into the city by private jet as part of a $40 million revamp of Jupiters Casino.

Tabcorp's investment in the region will double the size of the casino ballroom to an impressive 1000 seats and will lift the hotel venue from a glamorous four-and-a-half stars to a perfect 5.

The development, which will inject $15 million for a start into the region out of a projected $40 million bucks over the next 2 years, would see hotel suites upgraded and brand spanking new, state-of-the-art gaming facilities at the aging Townsville casino.

The upgrade will capitalise nicely on the city's showcase events by providing top-end entertainment, hotel and conference facilities and more.

The refurbishment is part of a $625 million investment by Tabcorp shared between its Brisbane, Gold Coast and Townsville casinos.

The move is expected to create a much needed 1400 new jobs in the long-term.

More than 3000 workers will be employed during the initial construction phase.

The firm has also allocated up to $1 million bucks purchase a number of new private jets, designed to bring the city closer (in time) to the lucrative Asian gambling market.

Premier Anna Bligh said Tabcorp's investment was a sign of confidence in the state's tourism industry.

Townsville MP Mandy Johnstone said the upgrade of the land based casino in the city would increase the space available for major events in the region.

"This is a significant refurbishment and it's great news for our tourism industry. But it's also great news for local tradies and builders and suppliers who will be part of this redevelopment."

Around 500 fruit machines would be allocated to be shared across the 3 casinos, sourced from existing, unallocated machine licences.

Gaming Minister Peter Lawlor said the pokies would be reallocated from within the current cap and wouldn't increase the overall number of poker machines in the state.

"Tabcorp has undertaken to install pre-commitment technology in its gaming machines, which helps to address problems associated with gambling," he said.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the proposal involved no net increase in poker machines in the state.

The developments are assured to increase investment and create plenty more jobs.

"About 3000 construction jobs will be created over the life of the project, and once fully established, the project will create demand for 1,400 jobs. No increase in poker machines, new attractions and accommodation for tourism, and a massive investment to stimulate employment, is a 'win-win-win' for Queensland."


Last month was a big month for casino awards. Let's have a look...

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*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. They also publish Australian Sports Entertainment http://www.australiansportsentertainment.com

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