AU Reef Hotel Casino Taken Over by Chinese Billionaire

The conditional offer to buy the Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns, Queensland, extended late last year by Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort Group, progressed into becoming a $269 million takeover bid. The board of the Reef Australian Casino Trust gave its approval in accepting the offer, since Aquis owner Tony Fung hopes to build a proposed $4.2 billion mega resort in Yorkeys Know in northern Queensland.

Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort Group (AGBRRG) has a pending application for a casino license, the granting of which serves as the deciding factor for the resort developers to push forward with the proposed project. Tony Fung's AGBRRG sees the acquisitions feat as one that would increase the company's chances of obtaining a casino license and closer to the building of the Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort. The mega resort project includes the building of nine luxury hotels, a sports stadium, an 18-hole golf course and cultural heritage centre for a 340-hectare property.

However, in view of the concerns raised by locals, the state of Queensland requires AGBRRG to submit an Environment Impact Statement by April or May. Aside from the usual concerns about increased cases of problem gambling, communities are wary that the proposed project could cause damage to the Great Barrier Reef and bring adverse effects to the region's tourism industry.

Tony Fung is confident that the mega resort is one that could ably compete with the man-made entertainment destinations in Singapore and Dubai, in attracting the lavish-spending tourists of China. Rather than create negative effects, the proposed mega entertainment venue therefore, could bring in more jobs and beef up the region's tourism industry as well.