In this article we will take a look back at all of the news to come out of the Australian gambling scene in 2014. It was an exciting year and one with many developments, but not all of them were good.
At the beginning of 2014 it was announced that the Echo Entertainment Group would be selling off its casino in Townsville. The total price was reported to be $70, with Colonial Leisure Group being the new owners of this North Queensland casino. The sale was the result of Echo limiting their portfolio, but they also stand to make a tidy profit from the sale.
Relaxing the Rules
There was good news in April, 2014, when it was confirmed that the laws in Queensland that restrict the number of pokies in the region were going to be scrapped. There had been a quota that had limiting the number of machines in the southeast of the state, but this was lifted and as soon as it was the club owners geared up to install many more machines.
They also said that they would increase the maximum number of pokies allowed in a single club from 280 to 300. This was not a huge increase, but those extra 20 pokies can generate a lot of extra revenue for the clubs. There had also previously been a rule whereby big club corporations could only purchase new premises close to their current ones, but this was scrapped as well and meant that successful corporations were given the green light to purchase small and run-down clubs across the state, turning them around and making them profitable.
Generally, this was good news for all gamblers across Queensland, and for everyone in the state in general thanks to the increased money and jobs that these changes will bring about. There is still a cap on how many machines are allowed in the state, with a limit for clubs and for pubs, but this has increased. It means that these venues will still be exchanging pokies and selling pokies to other clubs and pubs, but there will now be more of them in the marketplace.
Macau Style Casino
Towards the end of May, 2014, it was announced that the casino planned by Tony Fung, which is to be built in Queensland, was finally given the go-ahead. Tony Fung is a billionaire from Hong Kong, with a dream of bringing some of the glitz of Macau to Australia with an Aquis casino.
This tropical casino and hotel resort will be known as the Aquis Great Barrier Reef, due to the fact that it will be built on the water. It will cost over $8 billion and will come with close to 4,000 rooms and one of the biggest, if not the biggest casinos in Australia. This is very exciting news for gamblers everywhere, as they will be able to play their favourite pokies in one of the most amazing structures in the country, possibly whilst enjoying the giant aquarium that they plan to build within the resort.
Lose and Run
At the casinos it is usually the players that are down and chasing their losses at the end of the night, but in 2014, casino player Zhao li tried to flip the tables on the casino. He was down a huge $8 million, but rather than pay up, or even lose more trying to get his money back, he disappeared. The rich Chinese player was welcomed into the casino and given the VIP treatment, something that they immediately began to regret when he disappeared and they failed to track him down.
The casino that were left seething at their own misfortune and their VIP’s blatant disregard for their profits was the Melbourne Crown Casino. They filed a lawsuit against the player, but as of yet that has not been resolved and they remain unpaid, making gamblers all over the world wonder if this audacious move from the high-rolling Chinese gambler was actually brilliant.
The Crown Casino, mentioned above, was down $100 in 2014, nothing of which was because of the Chinese VIP. The owner of this casino, James Packer, had the nerve to blame the punters for this loss, suggesting that they were winning more and therefore damaging profits. Whether he actually believed this or said it just to suggest that they were one of the few casinos that actually lost money is anybody’s guess, but the truth wasn’t long in coming.
It later transpired that the company had purchased three private jets, which just so happened to cost $100 million. Although Packer made these purchases and probably spent some time in the jets himself, it seems to have slipped his mind. Maybe that’s what luxury and an endless stream of money does to you.