Next casino may be pokie free - Thursday 18th of October 2007

ANY deal for a second casino in NSW would not undercut the states club or hotel industry, Treasurer Michael Costa says.

Mr Costa today flagged the possibility that if a second casino was to get the green light, it could be poker machine free.

The treasurer today confirmed the state government and Star City Casino owner Tabcorp were close to finalising their talks over the existing exclusivity deal.

"Were very close," he told reporters.

"Clearly exclusivity is an issue that needs to be dealt with.

"Secondly, tax rates are an issue."

Any renegotiated deal could see the option for a second casino to be built in the state.

The present Star City deal prohibits any competition.

Mr Costa said the new deal would not jeopardise the hotel or clubs industry.

"What we wont do is put other sections of the recreation market at jeopardy through an arrangement ... that undercuts community clubs and the hotel industry," he told reporters.

A number of parties had made approaches regarding the possibility of opening a new casino in NSW, Mr Costa said.

"Some of the approaches we have dont involve poker machines," he said.

"But the discussion we are having with Star City is about exclusivity.

"There is a price for that exclusivity, however, we want to maximise what we get for the taxpayer."

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