Senator Nick Xenophon says it’s curious that Chinese state-owned firms are front runners to build Qld casinos when gambling is banned in mainland China.

Gambling is illegal in mainland China yet state-owned companies from the People’s Republic are front runners to build new casinos in Queensland.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon says the opening of new casinos in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, which already have casinos, will fuel gambling addiction.

“It’s pretty curious that gambling is banned in mainland China but state-owned enterprises are planning to make a quid off the backs of Australian punters,” he told AAP on Friday.

“A gambling-led recovery is an oxymoron.

“It will suck money away from small businesses and it will lead to an increase in problem gambling.”

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney this week announced that Chinese state-owned property group Greenland Investment had been shortlisted to build a six-star casino resort in Brisbane.

Another Chinese property company with state-owned interests, the ASF Consortium, received pre-approval this week to develop a casino with a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast.

Mr Seeney argued the proposals would encourage international high rollers to visit Queensland, and Chinese firms would have to be transparent about their development intentions.

Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung has been given pre-approval to build a second casino in Cairns.