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Gambling Related Essays and Reports by Andrew W Scott


Second casino for New South Wales?

JUne 17th 2007

I was astonished to read this story in today's SMH, stating that negotiations only began last week for Star City's exclusivity to operate a casino in NSW. In fact talks between Tabcorp and the NSW Government have been going on for a while.

Sydney Harbour Casino Pty Ltd (later to become Star City) was awarded twelve years exclusivity from the date of opening the Temporary Casino. I remember that day well, because I was there. It was 13 September 1995, and the doors opened to the public at 6pm.

The casino's exclusivity period therefore expires this September. Everything to do with Star City is supposed to be on the table, including exclusivity rights and tax rates.

In my view a second casino or perhaps a boutique card room to specifically deal with the poker boom would be a great thing. I believe a major factor explaining the arrogance of Australian casinos is the lack of competition. Each State and Territory Government is beholden to its casino because of the enormous revenue that casino raises for them, in the order of around $600 million a year country-wide.

If the NSW casino tax revenue was spread around amongst a number of casinos that truly had different ownership, the NSW Government might feel more able to withdraw or suspend the license of a casino that breaks the rules. So far, despite numerous breaches by Star City that have been well documented, there has been no threat to the license. There is simply too much money involved.

If we had more than one casino, there would be a role for the ACCC. It could be charged with the task of ensuring that the casinos truly competed with each other and didn't collude to offer bad games to the players. Imagine a renegade operator, operating a small boutique style casino, offering games with house advantages much smaller than the price gouging we are currently seeing. That would give the punters a fighting chance.

 

2007 Andrew W Scott
andrew@andrewscott.com

 


 

 

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