Newman wants casinos that can rival Singapore and Macau

TOURISM resorts already undertaking multi-million refurbishments at the Whitsundays, Yeppoon and Sunshine Coast could be among those bidding for two new casino licences.

Premier Campbell Newman would not confirm which resorts had shown interest in integrating a casino into their resort developments.

But he alluded to those he mentioned when he returned earlier this month from a trade mission in Asia.

During that press conference, Mr Newman said Queensland was on the cusp on another investment boom in tourism from our Asian neighbours.

He pointed to a $40-$50 million refurbishment of the Hayman Island Resort, refurbishment of the Laguna Resort at Airlie Beach, a $250 million makeover of the Capricorn Iwasaki Resort at Yeppoon and $300 million investment at a resort near Coolum on the Sunshine Coast for a 4-5 star resort with a residential component.

State Cabinet approved three new licences during a meeting on Monday morning, which would result in seven casinos in Queensland.

Any casino proposals submitted must be part of an integrated resort development to attract high-class, high-spending international tourists.

One licence will be attached to the government precinct development which takes in two blocks near Parliament House at the end of George St.

The other two would likely be in regional Queensland.

Mr Newman said the proposals must be similar calibre to the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Crown Casino in Melbourne or Macau, which is known for its gambling tourism.

He said he wanted dazzling architecture that would blow Queenslanders away.

"… something that says 'wow this is an exciting place'," he said.

Mr Newman said he believed the tourism industry was bleak without such developments as a drawcard.

He said this state needed five and six star resort development to complement Queensland's natural beauty attractions and be competitive in the global tourism market.

Mr Newman said gambling revenue was not a consideration, that he was only concerned about tourism dollars and investment into the state.

He said the people gambling would be international tourists, not necessarily locals.