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Casino revenue expected to pass $6b

 

Growing wealth in Asia and a boom in high roller spending is expected to drive revenue in Australian casinos to $6.2 billion by the end of the decade.

Market researcher IBISWorld says the opening of three new casinos in the next five years, all aiming to attract foreign high rollers, will be the main driver of gambling growth.

"IBISWorld believes the opening of these new casinos is reflective of strength in an industry being bolstered by high levels of domestic spending as well as increasing levels of foreign gambling dollars," it said.

Australia has not had a new casino since 1996, when the Reef Hotel Casino opened in Cairns, IBISWorld senior industry analyst Spencer Little said.

That will soon change, with billionaire James Packer's Crown Resorts building a $1.3 billion luxury hotel and VIP-only casino at Barangaroo on Sydney Harbour.

There is also two Chinese-backed developments planned for Queensland - the $8.2 billion Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort at Yorkey's Knob, north of Cairns, and a $7.5 billion mega-resort on the Gold Coast.

"Both groups have signalled their intention to build luxurious, resort-style casinos to attract wealthy VIP gamblers from southeast Asia," Mr Little said.

The two new Queensland casinos are expected to be operational by the 2018/19 financial year, while Crown will get a Sydney casino licence in late 2019.

Mr Little said new casinos are being developed in response to global trend for resort style casinos that offer more than gambling.

The success of these new casinos will be partly determined by competition from others in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Macau.

Regional competition would also intensify if Japan lifted its ban on casino gambling.

Despite this competition, Mr Little said Australia's three new casinos and existing operations are all expected to benefit from additional tourists visiting the region.