Queensland still chasing regional casino
The Queensland government is sounding out the market for interest in another regional casino resort, following the withdrawal of Hong Kong businessman Tony Fung’s multi-billion-dollar Aquis development.
Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham told says that up to a dozen private groups have approached the government over the past 18 months with various proposals.
“My department … has begun preliminary research to determine if there is genuine interest in the marketplace in another regional integrated resort development,” he says.
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“They have prepared a participant’s package which provides an overview of the opportunity and government parameters.”
Under Campbell Newman’s government, 12 international and local groups competed to operate a future integrated resort at Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf and two regional centres.
A consortium comprising Star Entertainment Group, Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook won the Brisbane tender and is due to start demolition next year for the $3 billion riverside development.
Chinese-backed ASF and Fung’s Aquis were given preferred proponent status for the regional developments.
My department … has begun preliminary research to determine if there is genuine interest in the marketplace in another regional integrated resort development
ASF is continuing to negotiate with the government over its proposed waterfront Gold Coast site, but in August Aquis bowed out of its already scaled-back $2 billion development at Yorkeys Knob.
Other interested parties for the regional licence were Chinese-backed organisations seeking to develop resorts along the coast.
Developer Terry Agnew’s GKI Resort proposed a boutique casino licence with a Greg Norman-designed golf course and hotel for Great Keppel Island off the coast of central Queensland.
Agnew says he will consider approaching the government once again for a casino licence. “We did it last time, we’ll do it again,” he says.
The government has pointed to criteria that any proposed integrated resort development must be within 70km of a city of more than 150,000 people; be close to an international airport or a facility that can be quickly upgraded to international status; and have well-established transport networks and tourism infrastructure.