Hong Kong gaming tycoon Tony Fung is negotiating to downsize the plan for the $8 billion Aquis Great Barrier Reef casino resort in Cairns, Australia.
The billionaire has already requested the state government to release the minimum requirements for an integrated resort development, The Courier Mail reported.
David Chu, Fung’s partner in another project in Brisbane, told the news outlet the tycoon’s decision to scale back could help him gain the needed approval to start building the colossal resort in 2017.
“It is a huge project. Some might say too big for Cairns,” Chu said, according to the report.
Fung already received the environmental approval from the federal government, but he still needs to win the state government’s agreement before he can start breaking ground.
Aquis plans to build 4,000 luxury hotel rooms on a platform over a series of lagoons during the first stage of development. There will be a casino for “family-friendly” premium and VIP Chinese tourist market, while the non-gaming facilities will include a theater, an aquarium, and restaurants.
Chu, however, believes having a “more realistic first phase roll-out” will help Fung get the much-needed state approval.
Meanwhile, Fung’s other property—the Canberra Casino—is facing trouble over poker machines.
Clubs ACT, the approved provider of poker machines in Canberra, has lobbied the government to reject an application for the use of the machines in the casino, Canberra Times reported.
Aquis Entertainment, which recently purchased the Canberra Casino, is planning a $330 million revamp for the property. But the proposal hinges on whether poker machines—currently allowed only for not-for-profit operators—will be allowed inside the casino.
According to the report, Chief Minister Andrew Barr is open to end the ban on the machines at casinos, but Clubs ACT Chief Executive Jeff House believes allowing the machines at the Canberra Casino is going to be “a clear and unequivocal breach of faith.”
The casino applied for 500 poker machines in a bid to makeover the tired property, the news outlet said. Canberra Casino hopes to attract an estimated 750,000 visitors each year.