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Tourism expert calls for Australian government to embrace casinos

Australian tourism expert John Lee has called for the Australian Government to take a fresh approach to the issue of gaming after two Aussie casinos scored high in a global survey.

The survey, conducted by Euromonitor International, found that the Australia’s Crown Casino ranked number 17 in the rankings of the most visited tourist attraction in the world, higher than the Sydney Opera House which came in 37th.

According to Mr Lee, this survey shows that the public no longer see casinos as a place for gambling only, and the Australian Government should do more to support casinos that are looking to develop a product that meets the expectations of today’s casino visitor.

New global survey puts two Australian casinos in the top 20 most popular visitor attractions world wide.

Lee, CEO of The Tourism and Transport Forum said in an interview recently that the “1970’s” view of gaming was no longer applicable, and that Australia should look to the Asian market as a particular growth sector: “In terms of inbound tourism, the biggest forward market is the Chinese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.”

He aired his frustration at the Government’s reluctance to embrace a new casino culture, criticising recent proposals to which would see players forced to pre-commit a maximum loss before being allowed to play. He argues that as punters can bet as much as they like on the Melbourne Cup, it is unreasonable for the same customers to be restricted “up the road” at the Crown.

Figures released by the Energy, Resources and Tourism Department show that almost one-third of Chinese visitors to Australia head to a casino.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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