A year after securing the title of lead developer of the new mega casino resort at Yorkeys Knob in Cairns, Aquis Entertainment has scrapped its plans to include a gambling venue on the property. The multi-billion dollar resort will bring in wealthy visitors from Asia and be a huge benefit to the local economy. It would be one of Australia’s biggest tourist destinations, with nine luxury hotels, a golf course, a lagoon and conference facilities.
The venue was originally supposed to have a casino, but Aquis ran into some complications when it came to securing a license. The regulatory processes were taking quite a long time, and the developer was concerned that moving forward with the casino would delay the construction, which is planned to start in 2017. So, at the moment, the project will proceed without plans for a casino.
Despite not being an integrated casino resort, the property will still attract millions of visitors per year. It will have 4000 luxury hotel rooms, along with all sorts of attractions like an aquarium, shopping mall, cultural heritage centre and exhibition centre.
“I welcome the proponent’s commitment to progressing with a large-scale integrated resort without a casino element at this first stage and I’m excited that this could mean the project is expedited to get off the ground next year,” says Treasurer Curtis Pitt. ““It will still retain its status as a project of state significance and I’ll be working very hard to give this development every chance of commencing next year”.
There is still a possibility of a casino being housed at the property. However, the will depend on whether or not another operator will be able to secure a regional IRD license – and Mr Pitt has stressed that there will be no preferential consideration for a casino license in the future. Aquis Entertainment already has one gambling project on the go in Australia, so it won’t be abandoning the local casino market altogether.
The company recently purchased Casino Canberra, and is making plans to carry out a $330 million of the property. Unfortunately, this project has also met with some complications, as Aquis wants to install 500 pokies on site – and, the clubs industry is standing in the way. The Yorkeys Knob resort continues to be one of the most exciting tourism projects in Australia.
Even without a casino, it will offer up a world-class entertainment experience for visitors from around the world.