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A Casino Could Secure Convention Center for Sunshine Coast, City Council Believes

The possibility for the addition of a casino as part of the Maroochydore Central Business District development project is still being discussed by the Sunshine Coast Council, despite recent comments by Mayor Mark Jamieson that a facility of this type was not on their agenda at the time.

In a letter to the editor of local news outlet the Sunshine Coast Daily, City Councilor John Connolly said that the Council still believes a project, including a casino, under Queensland’s Integrated Tourism Development program was the right path to “securing a regional convention centre”.

Cr Connolly went on to say that the Sunshine Coast Council does not have the means to build a convention and exhibition center as soon as it might wish and that they have to consider different ways to fund a project of this kind.

Local media reported earlier this week that the Queensland Government has confirmed it had promoted a visit by Malaysian casino company NagaCorp to Sunshine Coast. The visit took place last fall. Reportedly, NagaCorp executives and an architect, who had previously worked on the company’s existing casino resort in Cambodia, met the Sunshine Coast Mayor to discuss opportunities for a future partnership.

State Tourism Development Minister Kate Jones said earlier that the meeting taking place did not necessarily mean that a casino would be included in the Maroochydore CBD development project.

Boost to Local Tourism

In his letter, Cr Connolly wrote that Sunshine Coast does not have a large convention center that is paid for by the government, unlike other regions around the state. According to the City Councilor, a project that would include a gaming floor as well as different non-gaming facilities could significantly help the city fulfill its plan for a convention and exhibition venue.

He went on to say in his letter that the Maroochydore CBD development, if it includes attractive enough offering, would boost the region’s construction sector significantly and would then boost the region’s and the state’s tourism sector. The official also pointed out that the city should not rule out that quickly the opportunities that a casino could create.

The Queensland Government has not confirmed that the addition of a casino to the Sunshine Coast development project has been debated. On the other hand, Minister Jones has confirmed that she would visit the Sunshine Coast in March to discuss tourism opportunities with Mayor Jamieson.

Federal and state MPs have fired at the Sunshine Coast Mayor for his failure to end the casino debate once and for all by ruling out the construction of a gambling venue in the city. Mr. Jamieson said earlier this week that the decision about a casino is not within his or the City Council’s power and that such a decision can only be made by the state government.

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