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Australia casinos feature in 20 most popular tourist attractions in the world

A Euromonitor International survey this month revealed Australia’s most popular tourist attraction – Crown Casino, Melbourne. With 10 million visitors every year, the Crown Casino complex ranked 17th in the survey, which compared the twenty most popular attractions in 58 countries around the world.

Close behind Crown Casino, and with similar numbers of visitors, was Jupiters Casino, and Sydney’s Star City Casino occupies the 31st spot on the international list. Australia’s top three tourist hot-spots are casinos, then, and all three are placed amongst the most visited casinos in the world.

By way of comparison, Sydney’s iconic Opera House reached 37th in the list, with about 7 million visitors. The survey is clear confirmation of the casinos’ massive contribution to tourism in Australia.

But there are concerns in the industry that proposed legislation will restrict the growth of Australia’s casinos – and that the negative impact on tourism in Australia will be felt everywhere. One part of the new proposals would see punters required to commit to a maximum loss before beginning their gambling on Pokies – and ending their gaming when that limit is reached.

Tourism & Transport Forum CEO John Lee spoke to The Sunday Telegraph: ‘there is this 1970s view that casinos are just for gaming, but that is no longer the case. Just look at Crown. There are spas, dining, bars – a whole plethora of things people can do. In terms of inbound tourism, the biggest forward market is the Chinese market and they enjoy their food and enjoy a bet – we shouldn't have to apologise for developing the right sort of product to accommodate that.’

Figures from the latest Energy, Resources and Tourism Department international visitors report show almost one-third of Chinese visitors to Australia head to a casino. Yet currently, Star City holds NSW’s exclusive casino license, and no new casino developments will be possible before 2019 under current legislation.

Demand for new casinos has led to proposals for a ‘boutique’ casino in the Hunter, but no action has yet been taken. The debate over casinos in Australia looks set to continue...

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