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Is There A Casino Resort Coming To North Queensland?

Isn’t it nice to see casino moguls other than James Packer in the spotlight? Packer is without doubt the industry’s most outspoken Australian, and we have had a pretty good seat to hear about his plans both to dominate the casino scene here in Australia, and to draw in overseas customers, making Australia’s casino resorts into world-class tourist destinations.

It’s all in aid of luring the ‘whales’ – those high-roller, VIP guests that can literally make or break a casino in fairly short order – to his casinos, because Packer believes that where the whales are, there also lies success.

And it looks like he might not be the only one, as news starts to filter out of plans to build Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort. The proposal that has been put to the Queensland Government is an impressive one, and not without ambition, to say the least.

In the submission’s own words, it ‘will be Australia's only genuine, world-class, integrated resort. North Queensland is missing the man-made wonder of the world, which is presented in Aquis.’ Quite a claim to back up, but we’re talking about development on an epic scale.

A project costing more than AU$4billion, Aquis would include more than 7000 hotel rooms, apartments and staff units to accommodate guests who would be looked after by an army of as many as 10,000 permanent staff. The huge complex – 343 hectares, according to the proposal – would include a 25,000-seater stadium, a convention centre, nine hotels, a golf course and one of the largest gaming floors in the world.

And all of this is the ambition of Tony Fung, a Hong Kong-based billionaire who can clearly give James Packer a run for his money when it comes to putting together schemes for making Australia a casino destination that’s the match of any in the world.

Of course, this is just the start of the process for Aquis, and we’d have to see lots more detail before we could reasonably make up our minds as to whether we think it would be a good thing for casinos here in Australia (and especially for casino-lovers here in Australia).

But we’re loving the grandeur of these plans, and the investment in North Queensland might not be a bad thing if it amounts, as the submission by Fung suggests, to a doubling of the state’s tourism revenue...

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