Echo Ups Pokie Count in Brisbane

Echo Entertainment, which just beat out Crown Resorts to win Brisbane’s second casino license, may install an additional 1,000 poker machines at the planned $2 billion Queen’s Wharf development.

Deal under government review

Sydney-based Echo Entertainment may install as many as 2,500 poker machines at its planned Queen’s Wharf casino resort. If approved by the Queensland government, the move would mean $100 million in new revenues for the government of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, a figure based on $100,000 for each pokie permit.

Earlier this year, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, industry sources said Echo would not seek permission for new poker machines “partly to assuage concerns among Queenslanders about … problem gambling.”

The consensus was that the operator would simply spread out the 1,600 machines at its existing Brisbane casino, the Treasury, to the new $2 billion complex. Now the state government is apparently considering a deal that would up the ante by about 900 machines.

“To create value from the government’s point of view and create value from our point of view, we would look at it,” said Echo CEO Matt Bekier.

The Treasury casino will be folded into the redeveloped Queen’s Wharf site, which includes restaurants and bars, the Ritz-Carlton and Rosewood hotels, and an underground shopping mall as well as gaming, reported the Herald.