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Australian Casino Left with Hard Hand

7 August 2001

PERTH, Australia –– As reported by the West Australian: "Burswood would continue to lag in the race to attract Australia's gambling revenue, analysts warned yesterday after the [West Australian] Government ended the Perth casino and resort operator's dream of operating poker machines.

"Analysts expressed surprise at the Government's move which ended any hope Burswood had of becoming the only operator in WA allowed to run poker machines.

"Most analysts had expected Burswood to be given approval, in return for conceding a higher tax rate on gaming income, and it would have provided almost immediate, and long-lasting, financial windfalls for the casino's owner.

"…Yesterday's surprise announcement has also cast a cloud over whether Burswood can achieve any gains from its negotiations with the Government concerning a range of crucial issues such as its tax rate, the 10 per cent shareholding cap and approval to operate more gaming tables.

"…`It's disappointing for Burswood and the tourism industry . . . Burswood is already the worst casino in Australia because the product that's on offer is the most boring so people who are regular casino customers go in there and say "gee, what have we got in there?,' CIBC analyst Robert Gee said."I think it's very important that the results of the negotiations with Burswood end up with a satisfactory agreement which will be, first, good for Western Australia, and that includes issues such as social misery caused by problem gambling, and at the same time good for Burswood so that it can carry out its proper role that includes employment generation which I am very concerned about," [Racing and Gaming Minister Nick Griffiths] said."

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