Far East Consortium International’s investment in Australia’s Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, the state’s biggest casino project, is expected to generate earnings of HK$2 billion annually.
The contract that guarantees the Queensland government $1 billion in revenue was signed by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday, November 16. It was also signed by Star Entertainment Group’s Chairman John O’Neill, Chris Hoong of the Far Eastern Consortium and Conrad Cheng of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises. The joint venture between the three, now formally operated by the Destination Brisbane Consortium, makes it one of the largest entertainment and gaming groups in Australia. The price tag for the Far East Consortium’s share of 25 percent of the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane casino project was HK$1.08 billion.
The casino’s license is effective for 99 years and prohibits any other casino from opening within 60 kilometers of the waterfront development for 25 years. It will have a 2500 slot max, more than in Sydney, and unlimited gaming tables, including ‘electronic’ gaming tables. It is estimated that the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane will create more than 2,000 construction jobs, and once the it is operational in 2022, an estimated 8,000 ongoing jobs, according to the Department of State Development. The revitalized precinct will provide an estimated 1.39 additional tourists per year who will spend an estimated $1.69 million annually, and add $4 billion to the Gross State Product.
The casinos competitiveness will also be enhanced by tax breaks, which according to Hoong, the 10 percent gambling tax rate is one of the lowest in Asia. The tax rate for Non-VIP tables and slot machines is 30 and 20 percent. He added that Australian casinos of similar size bring in revenue between HK$1.5 billion and HK$2 billion. He expects the joint venture to surpass those numbers five years after its anticipated 2022 opening, according to The Standard. Surprisingly, Hoong is focused on mainland VIP’s rather than local gamblers who are mostly mass or premium mass. He explained by saying, “Mainlanders don’t want to go to Macau now, they are afraid personal information will be held by the government for use against them.” Hoong expects that within “five to seven years” Far East’s Australian assets will double to 15 percent.
The project includes a $1.3 million new live theatre, five hotels, a pedestrian bridge across the Brisbane River that links South Bank. It will also include a department store, approximately 50 food and beverage outlets, three residential towers and five hotels featuring the Ritz Carlton and Brisbane’s first 6 star hotel, among many more benefits.
Site works on the integrated resort are scheduled to commence in 2017.