emerging as new casino hotspot - July 2014
is emerging as the latest hotspot for casino operators
as they look to attract Asia's high rollers to the
gaming tables as well as its pristine beaches and
popular centres like the Great Barrier Reef.
a mining boom slowing, the prospect of thousands of
new jobs and billions in tourist dollars has convinced
Queensland and New South Wales to back four new casinos,
despite fears over their potential environmental and
resorts are at various stages of planning, with Queensland,
already a popular destination, the main focus of a
charge spearheaded by Australian mogul James Packer
and Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung.
Wiadrowski, head of Australian Entertainment and Media
at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said Asians culturally
liked to gamble and the latest plans were a win-win
for state governments.
governments, rightly or wrongly, these integrated
resorts are an attractive proposition because they
create employment opportunities and tax dollars, which
they can then put back into the community," he
the big question was whether there was sufficient
is a high-risk strategy, getting the occupancy in
the resorts," he said.
already has more than a dozen casinos, although not
on the same scale as the proposed projects.
May, Fung won a gaming licence, conditional on environmental,
planning and gambling approvals being obtained, for
his huge Aus$8.15 billion (US$7.53 billion) Aquis
resort near Cairns.
is being touted as the largest investment in tourism
infrastructure in Australia's history, with eight
hotels, an exhibition centre, entertainment precincts,
a championship golf course and one of the world's
open in 2018, it will employ 20,000 people and boost
Queensland's economy by Aus$1.4 billion a year, according
the same time, Chinese-Australian investment concern
ASF Consortium was granted a licence for its Aus$7.5
billion Broadwater Marine Project on the state's Gold
Coast under similar conditions.
Echo Entertainment, which runs the only casino in
Brisbane, Packer's Crown and a Hong Kong consortium
have bid for the right to build another integrated
resort in the Queensland capital.
all comes with Packer, who runs a worldwide gambling
empire, planning to open a six-star hotel and luxury
casino complex in a prime location on Sydney Harbour
China the target market -
is clear on his target market.
believe that Crown Sydney will help attract Asian
high net worth travellers to Sydney, in particular
from China, creating economic growth, extra taxes
and over 1,200 jobs for the people of New South Wales,"
he said in outlining his plans.
is plenty of competition in the lucrative market,
led by the former Portuguese colony of Macau which
now generates more than six times the gambling revenue
of Las Vegas thanks mainly to big-spending Chinese
the Philippines and Vietnam are also staking their
claims to regional market share, with several mega-resorts
in the pipeline.
minted Chinese are also the market for Fung, a member
of one of Hong Kong's best-known banking families.
ambitious Aquis project expects to attract a million
guests a year, three-quarters of them from overseas.
of the like of Aquis Resort at The Great Barrier Reef
don't only attract the Chinese mass-market middle-class,
but also the big-spending, high-value, ever-expanding
Chinese upper-class," he said in announcing his
plans last year.
the project has been criticised by some residents
worried that it could hurt local businesses and impact
the environment, including the World Heritage-listed
Great Barrier Reef.
have also been concerns about the Gold Coast proposal,
which will involve dredging an estuary to create a
cruise ship terminal.
largest export is coal but with prices falling and
the mining boom that has driven the economy starting
to ease, the state needs new ways to attract investment.
is about growing the Queensland tourism industry and
ensuring we maintain our international competitiveness,"
Queensland deputy premier Jeff Seeney said on the
rationale behind the new gaming licences.
booming Chinese market is already Australia's fastest
growing and most valuable with Tourism Australia targeting
1.4 million annual visitors, up from 900,00 last year,
within a decade, worth up to Aus$8.2 billion annually.
visitors make an important contribution to our economy.
China is Australia's fastest growing inbound tourism
market and tourists from China are the largest spenders
in Australia," said Tourism Research Australia
chief economist Leo Jago.
said the Chinese wanted more than just natural attractions
while in Australia, pointing to shopping and casinos.
natural attractions ... are magnificent but people
also want man-made attractions," he said.