Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told local media that she does not want Gold Coast to become a casino city. Ms. Palaszczuk’s comments came a day after news emerged that Las Vegas-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. was interested in operating a casino in the popular Australian city.
Queensland’s top official further dwelt that the Gold Coast can host one new casino at present and that the necessary license for it had already been granted to a Chinese-backed group of investors.
ASF Consortium was selected as the preferred bidder for the construction of a A$3-billion integrated resort in Gold Coast’s Southport Spit. Officials for the investor revealed earlier this week that they have been in talks with several big casino industry names for the operation of the gambling portion of their complex.
Caesars has been among those interested operators, ASF Consortium said. The gambling operator, whose main operating unit recently emerged from bankruptcy, currently operates more than 50 gambling venues in six different countries. However, Australia has been one of the markets it has not been present in, or at least not until now.
It has become known that back in July, officials for Caesars traveled to Gold Coast to research the region and to hold talks for their potential expansion into the local casino market. It is still unclear whether the casino operator will pursue a separate casino license or will do its best to court ASF Consortium into becoming the operator of the latter’s casino floor.
The Chinese-backed investors group had previously considered partnering with local casino operator Crown Resorts. However, it seems that the Australian company may have walked out of a potential deal.
The Gold Coast region currently homes one operational casino – The Star Gold Coast, formerly known as Jupiters. The property is undergoing a A$1-billion renovation, carried out to turn it into a premium gambling and tourist destination.
As for ASF Consortium’s Gold Coast Integrated Resort, as the complex’s name was announced to be, construction work is yet to begin. The Queensland government completed a public consultation process in April, the results from which are expected to be announced later this year. If Queensland lawmakers find the results satisfactory, they will ask the developer to present a detailed plan of its integrated resort.
Under initial plans, the property will include five towers that will host five- and six-star hotels, signature dining facilities, theaters, entertainment venues, boutique retail spaces, and a casino floor with multiple gambling options. There is no suggested opening date yet, as the multi-billion scheme is still in its earliest stages.