Macau expert warns of Gold Coast IR threat

Written by Ben Blaschke

A new AU$3 billion IR set to be built along the Australian beachside holiday strip known as the Gold Coast could pose a serious threat to local businesses, according to Macau integrated resort expert Professor Glenn McCartney.

Speaking to Australia’s government-funded ABC network this week, Professor McCartney has warned that significant developments such as the one currently planned by Star Entertainment Group can lead to what is known as the “Dutch disease effect” where small businesses located nearby are forced to shut their doors.

“It has to be very cautiously and responsibly managed,” he said, citing the fact that many operators see IRs as some sort of miracle cure.

“They think, ‘We’d love one of those … it’s going to bring back the tourists in their millions’. “This has all been played up by the media, by investors and by operators, but of course there’s some negativity and some cost benefit analysis that should be part of that argument.”

However, while the Gold Coast development has run into some opposition – particularly from local clubs, a Star Entertainment spokesman told the ABC that the Group had no desire to build a property that wasn’t feasible within the local community.

“Ongoing execution of the master plan … will depend on [the] market and competitor landscape at the appropriate time,” the spokesman said.

It has been estimated that the new Gold Coast resort could potentially attract an extra 460,000 foreign visitors to Queensland annually.