Managers of Star City Casino in Sydney thought they had a partial way around the smoking ban.
Not so fast, said the New South Wales Health Department.
In January, Star City submitted plans to the city to remodel one of the casino’s restaurants and transform it into a 130-machine slot area. The remodeling job was supposed to satisfy the legal requirement that allows smoking in an indoor area as long as that area is 25 percent open to the outside air.
But Mike Wallace, chief executive of the South-West Area Health Service, says the plans submitted fall short of the defined goal. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Wallace said that a lot more than 75 percent of the planned slot area would be enclosed.
“Therefore, smoking would not be permitted in this area,” Wallace said. “While we understand the city of Sydney does not have a role in assessing plans for compliance with the regulation, the practical implication is that the design will require substantial modification to comply. This may affect aspects of the development that council is required to assess (such as noise). If built, it may require costly modification.”
The upshot of the expected rejection is that Star City may have to spend an extra A$200 million to make the “outdoor” slot plan work, according to Macquarie Bank analyst Steve Wheen.
“This is a significant increase on the last budgeted expense for the project of A$300 million,” the bank said, according to the Herald.
“We highlight that such an increase will be difficult to generate a meaningful return on investment over the medium terms. Maintain underperform recommendation.”
The city council was expected to reject the current redevelopment plan.
There was no reported response from Star City.