Giant Casino Developers to Battle it out for the Queensland Casino Project

Australian gambling news - GamingZion

Brisbane and Queensland will receive new casino properties, with the bidding process already commenced.

Brisbane Queens Wharf development area will get a brand new casino operating under Australian gambling laws soon. There already have been four official expressions of interest shown in the project. The potential bidders include Lend Lease, Crown, Echo Entertainment and Greenland Holdings – a renowned Chinese casino developer.

The Deputy Premier for the State, Jeff Seeney, has told the local parliament that a total of twelve companies have lodged formal interest, paying $100,000 each. These include six consortiums looking to develop a casino property in Brisbane, and the other six hoping to create an integrated casino establishment in regional Queensland.

Interested developers

Brisbane’s sole casino – the Treasury – is owned by Echo Entertainment, a company which will compete with Crown and their owner James Packer. The two casino giants will battle it out for a second casino property in the Queensland capital. The companies are already waging war for king-of-the-casino-hill in Sydney.

Other renowned bidders, looking to get a brand new Brisbane casino license, include Lend Lease – a construction company, SKICITY Entertainment Group, a joint venture by Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, and Greenland.

Comments from the official

The state’s Deputy Premier expressed great satisfaction with the license approval process. The current selection stage has attracted a number of very serious competitors, all looking to be the one to develop a brand new integrated casino resort.

Official bids have already been submitted for new Brisbane and Queensland casinos

• Large consortiums interested in developing resorts under Australian gambling laws

• Brisbane currently has only 1 casino and its operator will also be bidding for a 2nd

• Both local and international companies are interested

Jeff Seeney was quoted in Australian gambling news saying: “I look forward to viewing fully-fledged proposals from these groups by the end of the year.

The Queensland government is committed to establishing developments that will be draw-cards for both international and domestic visitors and provide employment for thousands of Queenslanders. This process will also deliver a much-needed boost to the state’s construction industry.”

Intriguing competition twist

In an interesting turn of events, James Packer and his Crown will be bidding against their partner Lawrence Ho. Both billionaires own 33.6 percent of Melco Crown, the renowned operator of Macau casino properties and current developer of a huge casino in the Philippines.

One of the other companies bidding for Brisbane casino is Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, whose owner is Cheng Yu-tung – a Hong Kong billionaire. He is renowned for the extremely popular jewelry chain Chow Tai Fook with over 1,500 outlets throughout China and Hong Kong.

Cheng is also a stakeholder in Shun Tak Holdings, owned by Stanley Ho, Macau gambling mogul and father of Lawrence Ho. Shun Tak Holdings has a variety of interests including transportation and shipping, but most importantly a stake in SJM Holdings – a Macau casino operator. And there you have the connection between Packer and Lawrence Ho.

Queensland bidders

As for the regional Queensland casino project – there are six consortiums interested in developing it. The most notable one is Tony Fund, Hong Kong billionaire, and his Aquis development at Yorkeys Knob near Cairns, estimated at $4.2 billion. The firm is already in talks over buying out the Reef Casino in Cairns.

All the other bidders are suggesting a casino to be built near the Great Barrier Reef, North Queensland. Fullshare International hopes for a casino south of Proserpine. China-Australia Entrepreneurs Consortium offers a resort at Airlie Beach in close proximity to both Mackay and Townsville. And GKI Resort is looking to develop a casino on the Great Keppel Island. There are two more bidders looking into casinos on the Gold Coast – ASF wants one at Broadwater, and Eastern Success Group – at Nerang.

Selection process

The short-list of bidders will be chosen and announced by mid-2014, subsequently detailed proposal plans will have to be submitted by the end of 2014. While the final stages of the selection process – namely the contract negotiations – are scheduled to start in the beginning of next year. The contractual obligations will determine the deadline for completing the projects.

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