Queensland has passed lockout laws that will prohibit local nightclubs and bars from accepting new patrons after 1:30 and serving alcohol past 3am. The only venue in the area that is exempt from the lockout laws is Jupiters Gold Coast.
Geoff Hoff, head of Star Entertainment Queensland, has stated that being exempt from the lockout laws will not necessarily be good for business. As such, he has decided that the casino will not change its opening hours to cater to partygoers who have been locked out from bars and nightclubs in the area.
Still, local bar owners on the Gold Coast think that Jupiters could do a bit more. Jamie Pickering, who owns Sin City nightclub, states that the casino should actually reduce the opening hours of its bar rather than simply not extending them. Since his nightclub and all other bars have to close at 3am, Mr Pickering wants Jupiters to do the same.
“If the casino was serious, they would close their J Bar at 3am but they are not going to because they want people in that bar and in the gambling area,” he says.
A similar situation has been seen in Sydney, where lockout laws were passed in 2014. Local bars and nightclubs were subject to the new restrictions while The Star Casino would be able to stay open and continue serving alcohol all night. This has resulted in many local venues losing business and being shut down, while The Star saw its net profits double to nearly $100 million.
The Gold Coast lockout laws will continue to be a highly debated issue – especially since Jupiters Casino is exempt, and there are concerns about responsible gambling among patrons. As this story develops, we will keep you updated.