Queensland premier questions Echo on quality

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has questioned whether Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. deserves to preserve its lock on casino gambling in most of the state. Newman said Echo’s three casinos “are not world-standard venues anymore” and that the company had failed to live up to some earlier commitments for upgrades.

Echo has proposed large new investments for Brisbane and the Gold Coast but faces competition from a Crown Ltd. proposal for Brisbane, a potential cruise terminal casino at the Gold Coast and a proposal to open the country’s largest casino in Cairns. Echo also operates the Breakwater casino in Townsville. Echo last month lost a bid to extend its monopoly in Sydney against a proposal from Crown.

Rowen Craigie, Crown’s chief executive, said that the Crown Perth is attracting five times the VIP traffic of Echo’s Treasury casino in Brisbane despite the two cities’ apparent comparability; Perth however is much closer to Australia’s key Asian VIP markets.