In October 2013, Premier Campbell Newman announced his government’s plan of redeveloping the Queen’s Wharf and two other remote regions in Queensland, by adding three new resort-casino complexes that have the potential to compete with Asian destinations like Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and Macau’s gambling spots.
Currently, eight interested registrants have already received Expressions of Interest (EOI) documents from the office of Acting State Development Minister Ian Walker. Petitioning developers will use the EOI in demonstrating their capability to design, develop and operate a large-scale resort-casino haven for tourists, particularly Asian high rollers. The government is also open to bids coming from a team of bonafide service providers.
Although Minister Walker stated that it is still too early to say if all eight registrants would officially submit bids for the proposed projects, leading Australian casino giants, Echo Entertainment Group and Crown Resorts have earlier expressed interest in offering their experience and expertise. However, winning the projects might not be a breeze for any of these two casino companies, since they will be facing an array of well-placed competitors.
Reports have it that other contenders include New Zealand-based SkyCity Entertainment Group and Hong Kong Financier, Tony Fung. The latter previously put forward a proposal to build a $4 billion luxury resort and residential complex in Cairns, aimed at enhancing the appeal of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Australian-owned company Colonial Leisure Group has likewise entered the scene as a likely rival, through a $70 million deal to purchase the Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino from Echo Entertainment. As a potential competitor to building the integrated resort and gaming complexes, the group boasts of a portfolio that includes Orpheus Island, Daintree Eco Lodge and Nautilus Aviation.