There has been a huge buzz over two large-scale casino resort projects being granted initial licenses to operate in Brisbane – but there are several projects that have missed out. While Aquis Casino Resort and AFS Broadwater have been given the green light to go forward with their plans, four projects from other regions have had their bids ignored by the local government. Two of the projects were located in the Whitsundays.

One of the proposals was from Raymond Wang of the Chinese Australia Entrepreneurs Association Inc (CAEAI), who submitted a bid for a casino license on Airlie Beach. As part of his bid, he had hoped to upgrade the Whitsunday Coast airport to international status. "I'm disappointed, but particularly for the Whitsundays. As the projects were all dependent on the integrated resort development,” Mr Wang says.

However, there is still hope. There are some casino licenses still up for grabs. While AFS and Aquis have been given the initial go-ahead, there is still possibly a future for the casino bids that have been ignored. Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney is still optimistic.

She says: "As far as Council is concerned this is not over and we will continue to work with the CAEAI and the State Government to advocate for an integrated resort development in the Whitsunday region”. Another project on Great Keppel Island has also seen its plans to open a casino thwarted. The resort associated with the casino will open, but it will not be granted a gambling license.

The project developers are disappointed that they will not be able to attract business from international gamblers but it the resort will still bring in generous tourism revenue for the area.