The heavily indebted Australian state of Queensland is aspiring to attract Chinese and other Asian gamblers from Macau, with a revamp of its small existing casino industry. The jurisdiction says it might be willing to issue three new licences to add to four there already.
U.S. dollar billionaire Tony Fung Wing Cheung – a former chairman of the Hong Kong-based real estate developer Sun Hung Kai & Co Ltd – has already proposed a huge 3,750-room, A$4.2 billion (32.43 billion patacas) scheme called Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort, near the city of Cairns on Queensland’s coast.
In 1997 Mr Fung founded another firm called Yu Ming Investment Management Ltd, according to a company document. Yu Ming Investment Management is wholly owned by Hong Kong listed Allied Group Ltd, according to the English-language website of Yu Ming Group. The same website lists Ambrose So Shu Fai, chief executive of Macau casino developer SJM Holdings Ltd, as an independent non-executive director of Yu Ming Group.
Australia’s Echo Entertainment Group Ltd – an incumbent casino operator in Queensland – is already slugging it out with James Packer’s Crown Ltd (the latter already an investor in Macau) for the rights to provide more gaming facilities in the state.
A suggested site for one new facility is Brisbane, the state capital. Echo already runs the Treasury Casino & Hotel Brisbane, the Jupiters Hotel & Casino Gold Coast, and Jupiters Townsville.