US casino giant Caesars Entertainment has revealed it has pulled out of the race to develop a casino on Australia’s Gold Coast.
According to reports from News Ltd, the decision was made a number of weeks ago and well before the announcement by Caesars this week that it had entered into a US$17.3 billion merger agreement with fellow US casino operator Eldorado Resorts.
Speculation has been rife in recent months as to which foreign operators might be interested in bidding for the Queensland State Government’s mooted second casino license, however in a statement published by The Gold Coast Bulletin this week, a Caesars spokesman said, “Several weeks ago, Caesars Entertainment decided that it would not pursue a casino license in Queensland.”
While no detail was provided by Caesars as to the reasons for its decision, Queensland Tourism Department Director-General Damien Walker, said the government had been informed “this decision by (Caesars) was a result of internal company changes and not the attractiveness of the Gold Coast market as an investment opportunity.”
The decision also precedes comments made by Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg during an investor call this week discussing the merger agreement with Caesars. Reeg, who will take charge of the merged entity upon completion of the deal, stated “no firm decisions” had yet been made on the company’s long-term international ambitions but “the opportunity internationally will have to be stupendous for us to run in that direction.”
As for the Gold Coast, it is still to be seen whether the proposed development of a second casino goes ahead at all, with no site yet confirmed and questions being asked over whether the region is big enough to host another IR under the government’s Gold Coast Global Tourism Hub ambitions.
Approval for a second casino would also likely put an end to a proposed AU$2 billion “mega masterplan” by The Star Gold Coast operator, Star Entertainment Group, in addition to the AU$850 million it has already spent upgrading its Gold Coast property. The masterplan would see a total of four new hotel towers developed on top of the already under-construction Dorsett Hotel and Star Residences.
Star Entertainment Group has previously expressed concerns over the government’s plans for slot machine licenses should a second casino be given the green light, stating the company “has a declared position that the Gold Coast is already saturated as an electronic gaming machine market.”