Tony Fung Wing-cheung has made an offer for Reef Casino Trust, the Australian casino operator who run the only casino in Cairns, the city close to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, North East Australia.
Fung, whose Aquis Casino Acquisitions company would be the one completing the purchase, has previously proposed a casino resort that hasn’t made it through the complex rules thrown up by Australian gambling laws yet.
The A$214 million offer for the trust has gained backing from the biggest holders of the trust – Casinos Austria and Ascor, the French company – however it is likely that any deal would require Casino Canberra to be packaged with the Cairns casino.
While Australians are restricted due to the lack of online casinos in Australia catering to locals, it would be Chinese gamblers that Fung would look to target. There have been a number of proposals for casinos across Asia in recent times, with proposals in Japan, Philippines and Singapore, as well as the new gambling zone in Far East Russia.
With Chinese gamblers seen as among the highest rollers, and with no access to their own mobile casinos, countries are squabbling over attracting them to their shores. As it is, Australia’s 13 casinos only take in about 1% of Asia’s high rollers, a figure that they want to change.
The previous proposal by Fung’s Aquis Casino company was to build a massive resort casino north of Cairns. The resort plans include 9 luxury hotels, as well as villas, a golf course, sports stadium, and conference centre, as the billionaire looked to lure wealthy Asian gamblers to the resort. This change of tack, though, could prove an easier and cheaper way to gain a foothold in the Australian market before expanding at a later date.