[ Yorkeys Knob, North Queensland, Australia ]
Update: The Aquis Group (Tony Fung) as cleared all environment hurdles for this USD $8.15 billion Aquis mega resort.
A casino license for the project remains on the “to do” list.
A 340-hectare resort and casino is proposed for location at Yorkeys Knob, a northern seaside suburb of Cairns in North Queensland. The project is to be called, “Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort.” The resort is planned on a former sugar cane farm.
The project includes 7,500 guestrooms, a casino. an 18-hole golf course, a 25,000-seat stadium and a cultural heritage center, along with premium retail shops and convention facilities. The new resort would have 750 gaming tables and 1500 machines.
If the project schedule does not change, the gaming resort would open in 2018. An environmental impact statement is in preparation. A Queensland Government decision on the granting of a casino license for the Aquis Resort is expected in 2015.
The project is the vision of Fung Wing Cheung (Tony), a Chinese billionaire, through his 4JS Group of Companies. Fung is a son of one of the founders of Sun Hung Kai & Co. (Hong Kong). Among numerous holdings and projects, Fung was the developer of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
On a separate but related front, a plan for Fung to take over Reef Casino Trust may have collapsed due to timing of regulatory approvals. Reef Casino Trust currently owns the only casino in the city of Cairns, the ownership of which was viewed by Fung as a means to initially enter the Australian gaming and resort industry. As of August 2014, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission decided not to oppose the planned takeover of the existing Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns by the Aquis Group (Hong Kong). Concerns had been raised about the same person owning two casino licences in such close proximity but a determination was made that Reef Hotel Casino (Cairns) and Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort (Yorkeys Knob) would serve different customers. The Reef Hotel Casino is deemed as a facility for locals and domestic tourists (gaming machines primarily), while the Yorkeys Knob facility would serve international gamers and VIP guests (table games primarily).