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A$5,888-a-night room with karaoke reveals Australia's China bet

[SYDNEY] Star Entertainment Group's newest luxury hotel reveals the Australian casino operator's own naked bet on big-spending Chinese gamblers.

A penthouse at the Darling hotel on Queensland's Gold Coast, an hour's drive south of Brisbane, costs A$5,888 (S$5,973) a night. Eight is the luckiest number in Chinese culture. Three of the digits denotes triple good fortune.

The 253 square-metre suite includes a dedicated karaoke lounge, a free-for-all staple of after-dinner entertainment in China. Next door to the hotel: a casino with refurbished private gaming rooms.

"There's a growing, growing international market coming into Australia and particularly guests out of areas of Asia and China," Star's managing director for Queensland, Geoff Hogg, said.

"This is the sort of experience they're wanting to have."

The 57-suite hotel, which opened on Thursday, is part of a planned A$850 million development at the site by Star and its Hong Kong partners, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd and Far East Consortium International Ltd.

Sydney-based Star, which once relied on China for almost all its high-roller income, now aims to generate half of it from other Asian nations. Star has a market value of A$4.5 billion.

"VIP gaming is a diverse group," Mr Hogg said. "There's been a lot of growth coming out of South-east Asia."

A spokesman for Star didn't immediately respond when asked whether the room price was intended to appeal to Chinese visitors.

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