Protesters Vent Their Steamy Ire on the Star Casino in SydneyApril 4, 2016 11:33 am
Something doesn’t quite smell right in Sydney’s CBD Entertainment Precinct, and thousands of protesters attending the Reclaim The Streets marches have made their feelings known in no uncertain terms by placing a giant-sized steaming turd outside of James Packer’s Star Casino.
At the heart of the issue are the controversial new lockout laws, which were passed with the stated aim of reducing drug and alcohol related violence in the area. Included amongst the slew of draconian rules is no takeaway alcohol sales after 10pm; lockouts at local venues at 1.30am; and last drinks at 3am.
Notable exceptions to the rule, however, includes the Star Casino, which has retained its 24-hour liquor licence, in addition to the Barangaroo casino, which will be Sydney’s second legal casino when it opens in 2020. Pointing out the uneven handedness of the NSW Government’s stance on the issue, the group known as Reclaim The Streets explained:
“These casinos have brought their way into a free pass, while at the same time funneling all of the late night trade into their highly lucrative gambling halls. We are marching to the casino to highlight the gross hypocrisy of the government and the craven interests of The Star and Crown Casino.”
Particularly attracting the ire of protesters is the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, who has been given the nickname “Casino Mike” for what is perceived to be his favourable treatment of casinos, and the king-sized fake turd nugget left outside the Star Casino was even named ‘The Mike Baird Memorial Turd’ in his ‘honor’.
Other tangential issues raised by the protest group includes the continuing prevalence of slots machines (“pokies”) in the state, as well as the policing of music festivals by drug sniffer dogs.
Responding to the controversial new lockout laws, CEO of Star Entertainment Group, Matt Bekier, said that the casino deserved to be excluded from the new laws, stating:
“If you look at our statistics, even the fact that we have 11 million people [visitors], we are one of the safest venues in the world.”