The South Australian government has recently provided SkyCity with the approval needed for the expansion of its Adelaide casino property. The project will benefit the economy by increasing tourism and creating jobs but responsible gambling advocates are concerned about the potential drawbacks of the expansion.
Senator Nick Xenophon, who is well-known for its pokie reform advocacy, has come forward to voice his concerns about the expansion of SkyCity Adelaide. He and other responsible gambling campaigners are worried that problem gambling rates will increase as a result of the 1500 new pokies and 200 new table games that will be added to the venue.
“The fact is this will increase levels of gambling addiction in South Australia,” Xenophon says. “It will lead to a much more aggressive gambling market”.
The benefits are plentiful, however. Redeveloping SkyCity Adelaide will result in hundreds of construction jobs for locals and, when the project is completed, thousands more permanent jobs will be created. People across South Australia and the country at large will have many more job opportunities, and this will undoubtedly boost the local economy.
Still, Xenophon is not convinced, stating that there are better ways to create jobs in South Australia. He has cited statistics from a University of Adelaide study which found that three jobs are created for every $1 million lost on pokies, while $1 million in retail spending creates six jobs and the same spending in hospitality results in the creation of 18 new jobs.
Despite the criticism, the redevelopment of SkyCity Adelaide will move forward. Construction will begin in 2017, and it is anticipated that the process will take just over a year. This is an exciting undertaking for South Australia, as it has the potential to really benefit the state’s economy.