Plans for a new super casino in Cairns here in Australia are already well underway and with $8.15 billion being set aside for the project, you can understand why it is rarely out of the news. It is set to become one of the biggest homes to great pokies and other top notch casino action when it finally comes about and a leading analyst in the gaming sector has weighed in with his opinions on how important Chinese junkets will be to the success of the resort.
Currently, businessman Tony Fung of Hong Kong has already spent upwards of $30 million on government applications and various advocacy campaigns for the project and is primarily waiting on clearance from an environmental impact study. Should all go to plan, work on building the new casino will commence in 2016, where 343 hectares of currently rural land will be transformed into a gaming venue that every Aussie player will be proud of.
As you would expect not only from a Hong Kong based businessman, but also any new casino property in Australia, attracting Chinese visitors is pretty high on the list of priorities. Casinos in Macau, currently regarded as the main Asian gaming hotspot, have seen their revenues increase by 19% in the last year alone to $45 billion and Fung has been making use of this fact in order to attract additional investment from his native Hong Kong. Plan A, therefore, is clearly to set the Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort apart to stand out among VIP players from China and other Asian countries.
“I have recognised the unique stability of Cairns to develop an integrated resort, based upon the Macau model. Facilities of the like of Aquis don’t only attract Chinese mass market middle class, but also the big spending, high value, ever expanding Chinese upper class. We will use junkets if they can deliver the business in a legitimate, legal way. There are two aspects to this. One is the business aspect and the other is the legal aspect. It is the norm in Macau to give out forty percent commissions. It might even be a bigger share that we have to give out to bring them out to a new property.”
Head of iGamiX, Ben Lee, claims that the relationship between Fung and the junkets will be essential to the overall success of the new casino property as it looks to join the Reef Hotel Casino, currently the only gaming venue in Cairns. Fung has already stated that the continuation of the new casino project rests on the success of the Reef, as his Aquis company recently took over the property in a $270 million deal. As the home to more than 660 poker machines from the likes of Aristocrat and Ainsworth, we can’t imagine it doing too badly! That means that the new casino is likely to be a goer and if you’re a fan of pokies with a VIP element, it definitely continues to be a venue that is well worth keeping an eye on.