Major casino companies have registered interest in participating in a project for the construction of a A$1-billion integrated resort in the city of Cairns, the Queensland government said earlier today.
The Global Tourism Hub scheme was introduced last fall. It involves the construction of a multi-purpose complex with a casino as well as a number of accommodation, food and beverage, retail, and entertainment facilities. Under the original proposal, the resort could be built on a four-hectare state-owned site at the city’s port. However, MPs said last year that it can technically be located anywhere within a 70-kilometer radius from Cairns.
The Queensland government opened a Registration of Interest process on October 30, 2017, and interested parties had up until January 23 to submit their responses.
It became known earlier today that over 12 registrations were submitted, and some of them came from several globally renowned casino operators. The government said that it would not reveal the applicants for commercial-in-confidence reasons. However, it pointed out that registrations included a mix of state, national, and foreign casino brands.
Local media reported that officials were encouraged by the overwhelming interest in the A$1-billion project, particularly given the fact that some of the world’s biggest casino companies have submitted their registration of interest responses. MPs told media that their exceeded expectations were a good indication that their choice of Queensland’s Tropical North as the preferred home to the future development was the right one.
The proposal for the development of the Global Tourism Hub came as part of the Queensland government’s efforts to further boost the state’s tourism industry, which is believed to be worth A$25 billion and to be employing 200,000 people.
Who Might Have Registered Interest?
While the Queensland government has decided against naming the operators that were interested in building a casino as part of the Global Tourism Hub, we believe that Las Vegas giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. may be one of these. Last spring, the company revealed plans for geographical expansion. It said that it would explore opportunities to enter new markets once its main operating unit emerged from bankruptcy.
What is more, reports emerged last June that Caesars was interested in entering the Queensland casino market through a partnership with Chinese-backed group of investors ASF Consortium, which was picked by the government to develop the A$3-billion Gold Coast Integrated Resort. Several months later, the government rejected the plan, citing environmental concerns and general discontent among Gold Coast residents.
Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp may be another operator to have registered interest in the Global Tourism Hub scheme. Casino News Daily reported last August that the company, which currently operates the NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, had set eyes on Cairns as a potential destination for its international expansion.
With the conclusion of the Registration of Interest process, the Queensland government is set to launch an Expression of Interest process for interested parties. It is also important to note that the government also undertook a community consultation last year. Members of the public are able to voice their opinion on the Cairns project until February 11, 2018.
Terry Davis holds a degree in Psychology, but it was after his graduation that he found his real passion – writing. Previously, he worked for a local news magazine.