Thursday 18 April 2019
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Casino for the Sunshine Coast

Every few years this debate fires up.  We get a dozen news stories and someone proposing some sort of casino, with a bunch of negative stories about how bad it would be for the region.

Well here we are again.  It is early March 2018.  The Maroochydore new city centre is well underway with the golf course removed and roads and infrastructure being installed.

The first we heard about the new proposal was a news story on Nov 18 2017 in which Mayor Mark Jamieson is supposed to have met with a delegation from Malaysia in relation to a casino resort at Maroochydore.  Almost immediately we had Andrew Wallace (member for Fisher) with a petition against a casino on the Sunshine Coast.

Mr Wallace has 5200 signatures, but a petition is very one sided.  It did not give me the option to say that I wanted a casino. Obviously, I did not sign it.  Maybe there was 20,000 people that felt like me but could not voice their opinion.  I don’t think that 5200 signatures represents the community.

If Mr Wallace is concerned about people with a gambling problem, then why is it that most of his constituency is within a 5 minute drive to a pub or club with poker machines.  I can walk to 2 venues in 20 minutes or drive to 6 or more in 5-7 minutes (yes I live within his constituency).

Mr Wallace also states that it will lead to an increase in crime in the area.  Here’s what I know. In most cases, casino’s have police working within the establishment.  A Casino helps law enforcement agencies by providing surveillance and information when there is need.  A casino may actually help clean up crime in the area.  I remember 1 instance  in Melbourne where  casino gaming staff and surveillance staff were instrumental in the capture of an Asian drug kingpin who had 5 million dollars of heroin in boot of his car outside the casino on the street.

At least a casino would add a bit of class to the area.  Casino tables are an exciting form of entertainment with a much lower percentage profit than poker machines.  Casino tables require staff and supervisors which means employment whereas a poker machine just sits there with 1 staff member to 30+ machines.

Casino Sunshine coast

Sunshine Coast casino

I have set up a casino poll on the right side of our website to give my visitors an opportunity to vote yes or no to see if there is community support for a casino in the SunCentral CBD development.

It seems like  Mayor Mark Jamieson will be meeting with the public and some experts in the near future about this issue.

I believe that an area like the Sunshine Coast where we have minimal industry and rely on tourism would benefit greatly from a casino complex.  (as long as Clive Palmer is not involved!!)

For disclosure purposes: I have worked within the casino industry and have been part of the opening team for 3 major Australian casino’s.  My wife (and I) operate a business that offers casino themed entertainment to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane regions. Our business is called Wild Diamonds Fun Casino.  We do support a casino operation on the Sunshine Coast (with minimal poker machines).
Ian Hazzard.

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