Casino operator Caesars Entertainment is holding talks to partner with a Chinese developer regarding a long-stalled gaming project on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Last week, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported that Caesars’ international development exec Steven Tight had been skulking around the Gold Coast region in the state of Queensland, studying the feasibility of a resort casino project in the area.
On Tuesday, the Bulletin quoted Louis Chien, director of ASF Consortium, saying Caesars was one of the companies with which ASF was holding with regarding running gaming operations at ASF’s proposed A$3b integrated resort on the Gold Coast’s Southport Spit.
ASF, which is led by the Chinese government’s state-run China State Construction Engineering development firm, is the Queensland government’s preferred developer for the long-proposed Gold Coast resort project. The state government’s consultation finished in April and ASF is reportedly waiting to learn the results before submitting further design plans regarding its proposed five-tower development.
While Caesars is having talks with ASF, Chien cautioned that the company was just “one of many” casino firms that ASF was talking to regarding the unbuilt Gold Coast property’s gaming operations. It’s unclear whether that list includes Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, who in April very publicly denied having inked any deal with ASF regarding a Gold Coast project.
Caesars’ Tight was similarly tight-lipped on whether his company’s interest in the region was locked in with ASF or whether Caesars would consider a standalone project. Caesars infamously opted not to bid on a Macau casino concession back when that market was opened to Western companies, a decision that contributed to the company’s well-publicized financial difficulties.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham has suggested the government could solicit bids on a second resort project if the market displays “notable interest.” It remains to be seen how notable that interest may be, given that most Asia-Pacific casinos are modeled on catering to a Chinese VIP clientele, and China appears increasingly determined to funnel mainland gamblers to Macau rather than to gaming jurisdictions not subject to Chinese oversight.