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Australia emerging as new casino hotspot

Published on Jul 2, 2014 11:49 AM
Pedestrians walk past The Star casino, operated by Echo Entertainment Group Ltd., in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, March 16, 2012. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia is emerging as the latest hotspot for casino operators as they look to attract Asia's high rollers to the gaming tables as well as its pristine beaches and popular centres like the Great Barrier Reef.

With a mining boom slowing, the prospect of thousands of new jobs and billions in tourist dollars has convinced Queensland and New South Wales to back four new casinos, despite fears over their potential environmental and social impacts.

The resorts are at various stages of planning, with Queensland, already a popular destination, the main focus of a charge spearheaded by Australian mogul James Packer and Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung.

David Wiadrowski, head of Australian Entertainment and Media at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said Asians culturally liked to gamble and the latest plans were a win-win for state governments.

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