Casino shorts: Should it be harder to own a casino in the ACT?

Canberra Casino gambling
There are calls for stricter rules around casino ownership in Canberra.

In comparison to other states, the Australian Capital Territory has soft laws on who can own a casino. Victoria for instance has much stricter laws surrounding owners character and probity tests than their less populous capital.

With Aquis Entertainment set to overhaul Casino Canberra with massive upgrades and expansions, the spotlight is set to turn on legislation surrounding the Territory’s only casino.

To highlight the issue, Aquis tried to secure a licence for a massive development at Yorkey’s Knob, near Cairns, on top of a bid to buy the Reef Hotel Casino, also in Cairns. At the same time Aquis was dealing with the Queensland government, they were negotiating with Canberra to buy the casino in the city centre.

But towards the end of 2014 Aquis pulled out of the Queensland pitch, despite the two governments looking at them jointly. To have been successful in Queensland they would have had to pass a character test, which can include people associated with the company, and a financial test.

Industry experts have since come out and said the ACT needs to upgrade its policy surrounding casinos, with some recent positive examples of rules surrounding casinos including other Australian states and Singapore.

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Star Entertainment Group on the up and up

The lucrative Asian gambling tourism market is now more likely to flood to the east coast of Australia, rather than the traditional destination of Melbourne.

The latest analysis from Macquarie shows both Crown Melbourne and The Star will continue to prosper through growth in tourism, but the Sydney-based operation had a greater scope given its current popularity with tourists.

Sydney is expected to increase tourism by 6% in 2017, while Melbourne is slightly lower at 4%. The Star is also expected to receive a significant boost from its Gold Coast operation (Jupiters) with a 29% increase in tourism. The report did note Jupiters’ current expansion could hinder its ability to cash in on the increase of tourists.

Microgaming to release three new game this month

Three new games headline August for leading iGaming software company Microgaming.

The gaming goliath will release Karaoke Party which will allow players to win up to 150,000 in credits.

The second release will be Monkey Keno, a lotto matching style game, featuring a dynamic pay table which updates prizes based on bet amount and the number of tiles selected.

Finally Frozen Diamonds is also due to hit Microgaming casinos like Royal Vegas this month. Frozen Diamond will have 20 fixed paylines and will boast 5 reels.

“There’s no summer hiatus at Microgaming as we prepare to release three diverse games to our operators next month,” Neill Whyte, Head of Product Channels at Microgaming, said at the end of July.

“What’s more, we have a number of exciting games launching in the next couple of months, including Jungle Jim – El Dorado in September and the highly-anticipated Dragonz later in the year, which we unveiled at the iGaming Super Show in June.”

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