View :: Rock and High Rolling

June 10th 2011


The only toes tapping in casinos are normally moved by the jangling nerves of problem gamblers. But if you're going to blow your week's salary you might want to do it to some banging tunes, right? Star City's new live music venue Rock Lily is gambling on that bet, and they have the tequila flowing and the politicians talking.

The space, nestled between the food court and blackjack tables in the Pyrmont monolith, opened in April and has hosted high profile indie-pop acts like Washington and Art vs Science. The casino is pretty pumped about the new place, but some public figures are starting to complain.

"You know the old saying – there's no such thing as a free lunch," Independent Senator Nick Xenophon told ABC Radio yesterday. "Well when it comes to Star City there's no such thing as a free concert. The price that some music fans will pay for going to these allegedly free concerts could be a very high one indeed if they end up getting a gambling problem."

Xenophon echoes gambling experts, who've argued that the move is a cynical grab for youthful cash. "They're not doing it because they're a philanthropic organisation," Xenophon said. "They're doing it because they want more business. And we know from the Productivity Commission research that 40 per cent of pokies losses come from problem gamblers. If they want to give back to the community, if they're interested in live music then they can fund live music directly at venues that don't involve the casino."

What are yout thoughts on this one? With Sydney's live music scene suffering from venue closure should we take whatever we can get? Or should we be critical about who is bankrolling these spaces, and why?


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