Feb
20

Star CEO: Coast casino process a ‘headache’ ahead of $2b masterplan

REALESTATE.COM.AU

A FRUSTRATED Star boss says lack of clarity around a second Gold Coast casino is a “headache” creating uncertainty for investors in Star’s $2b Broadbeach masterplan.

The State Government has been considering testing the market for another casino resort on the Gold Coast, with a slim margin of city councillors voting recently for exploring it.

The Palaszczuk State Government has a framework for developing GlobalcTourism Hubs with an associated casino licence but is yet to call for interest on the Coast under the process.

Frustrated Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier: “The issue of the second casino has been around for a long time and it seems to come back in all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes.” Picture: Jerad Williams

 

Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier said he was finding the process hard to understand and explain to investors who were “unsettled”.

Mr Bekier: “The issue of the second casino has been around for a long time and it seems to come back in all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes. Our position has been very consistent that there isn’t enough capacity in the marketplace.

 

Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier finds the process for a second casino hard to
understand. Picture: Tim Marsden

 

“I’m finding it very hard to understand the whole process – or non-process. Officially there is no process underway,” Mr Bekier said.

“Have you seen a paper that actually says this is what a Global Tourism Hub looks like, where it is, these are the components, tender by this day?

“As far as I’m aware there is only a process for a casino licence in Cairns. Other than that there is nothing – there is a lot of speculation.”

Asked by the Bulletin if that gave him confidence a competing second casino resort wouldn’t happen, he said: “No. It gives me headaches because our investors are unsettled, our partners are unsettled and we are spending a lot of time trying to explain something very hard to explain.

“I’d much rather have clarity and confidence with where we are going and continue to invest,” Mr Bekier said.

“At this point, I don’t know what to do if there is going to be a second casino.”

Asked where the Gold Coast second casino process was at, Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones replied: “No formal process is under way for a Global Tourism Hub on the Gold Coast.”

Despite his spray for the process, Mr Bekier added Star believed it had a “good relationship” with State Government which recently green-lighted Star’s $2b masterplan. It envisages seven towers in total at Star’s Broadbeach Island with 50-plus food and beverage outlets.

A third tower for a Dorsett hotel is under construction but Star has always maintained future builds depend on the “competitive environment”.

 

Kate Jones said no formal process is underway currently. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

 

“We want to continue to invest, co-exist with pubs and clubs, develop enough capacity to bring international tourists to the Gold Coast, increase food and beverage offerings and collaborate with Government and other bodies to deliver and leverage more big events,” Mr Bekier said.

“Is that not a sensible outcome for the Gold Coast? Why would we need to disrupt a balance that is being struck in most markets?” Mr Mr Bekier asked.

His comments come after an explosive letter late last year from Star’s Queensland managing director Geoff Hogg to State Government.

Leaked to the Bulletin, it revealed Star urging State Government to “assess the costs of discontinuing a true industry partnership between the Palaszczuk Governt and Star that will leverage statewide benefits”.

 

The Star Gold Coast Masterplan Development (viewed from the West) in Broadbeach. Star has bold plans for five new towers on the site which is already home to the original Star complex and Darling suite hotel. Tower 1 starts construction in August with four proposed to come after that over the next decade.

 

Mr Bekier said it was never intended to be a threat: “We are obviously disappointed our confidential communication with Government found its way to the press.

“(The letter) was to state our position with all the supporting facts. Some people I think have interpreted that as a threat. It was never the intention.”

Source: 8 January 2019 – Gold Coast Bulletin

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