The battle to become Australia’s top casino operator is heating up.
In one side of the ring is The Star Entertainment Group, which continues its aggressive push to expand its presence in the country. This week, several media outlets reported that the Australia-listed casino operator and its Hong Kong partners are investing AU$850 million to build a 200-meter tower at its ageing Jupiters casino on the Gold Coast.
The expansion masterplan, worth an estimated $2 billion, will include 350 apartments and 700 hotel rooms of 4.5-star quality, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Construction is expected to begin in 2017, and The Star will add four more towers “at two-year intervals depending on demand for the initial tower.”
The Star CEO Matt Bekier told the news outlet: “We will only develop the additional towers when we get the demand proven up through pre-sales. Once you have the pre-sales, you can pre-fund it and build it and it will give you the confidence that you can go again.”
The Star and its partners, Hong Kong-based investors Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium, will hold a one-third stake each in the first tower. According to the report, one of the five towers will be for residential apartments, while the second will become a stand-alone hotel and the other three will be a mix of serviced apartments and hotel rooms.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung is reportedly also planning—quietly—his own little party.
Last week, Fung’s Aquis Entertainment board members gathered in Queensland “to discuss plans and to sign off on a soon-to-be-announced international design competition” for a new casino resort in Surfers Paradise,” the Australian Financial Review reported.
Fung partnered with Chinese developers Tandellen and CCC International Holding back in March to acquire the property near the iconic Australian tourist attraction, the Vomitron.
The Hong Kong mogul is also on the verge of building his $8 billion Aquis Great Barrier Reef complex, minus a casino. If you recall, Fung passed up on the chance to get a casino license for the Yorkeys Knob project in order to focus on constructing the first phase of the project as early as next year.