Cairns To Become the Australian Vegas

Ever wonder which Australian city could one day become the Australian equivalent of Las Vegas? Well you can out your mind at ease because in some recent decisions made by leaders of the Australian tourism industry cairns has been chosen to become the countries centre of poker machines.

More detailed information in the below article sources from News online:

CAIRNS would become Australia’s answer to Las Vegas under a controversial scheme to transform it into the national centre for poker machines.

The proposal is to be aired tomorrow in Brisbane at one of the tourism industry’s key annual conventions, Tourism Futures, to be attended by international tourism heavyweights and politicians, including Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

It is being put forward by breakaway Liberal National Party MP Aidan McLindon, who has spent years rallying against the spread of poker machines.

But Mr McLindon, who quit the party in May to form the Queensland Party, is now pushing for debate on a scheme that would create a Vegas-style gambling strip in Cairns by relocating poker machines from existing pubs and clubs across Queensland to a new “Aus Vegas” to be built in the region.

The Beaudesert MP first outlined his vision for a Vegas-style pokies hub to reduce gambling in April last year in his maiden speech to State Parliament.

It would copy the US model, where Nevada is the only state to have no significant restrictions against gaming machines.

Under the “Aus Vegas” proposal, clubs would have to sell their poker machine licences back to the Government or relocate their pokies to Cairns and become shareholders in the new enterprise. The state’s four major casinos would be exempt.

The plan would be supported by a shake-up of the current distribution of gambling funds collected by the State Government, with poker machine revenue instead being poured into recreational sports through a scheme that would hand sports clubs a cash grant for each child they put on the sports field.

“The location is ideal given the Cairns region is suffering some of the highest unemployment levels and the tourism industry is plummeting,” Mr McLindon said.

“It already has the international airport there, which is under-utilised. Ideally, you want them (gaming machines) all in one place so people can go away, have a holiday, blow their money and come home.”

But welfare groups fear the plan could turn Cairns into a “Sin City”, making residents the sacrificial lambs of the nation’s gambling problems.