US casino operator Caesars Entertainment has reportedly firmed up plans to manage gaming operations at a proposed Australian casino.
Earlier this month, Australian media reported that Caesars was among the casino operators vying to run gaming operations at the ASF Consortium’s in-development integrated resort project in the state of Queensland’s Gold Coast region.
While those reports were deemed preliminary by a director of the Chinese-controlled ASF, The Australian reported on Saturday that Caesars had signed an agreement with ASF to advance due diligence and commercial terms on managing the proposed A$3b resort’s casino operations.
Neither Caesars nor ASF has publicly commented on the report. Caesars has been keen to establish some presence in the Asia-Pacific market after missing out on the chance to operate in Macau over a decade ago, while ASF is keen to show that its Gold Coast project is more than just a paper tiger.
It’s been nearly four years since ASF was granted exclusive rights to develop a Gold Coast casino project but the plans have remained in limbo due to repeated disagreements with the state government over the scope of the project.
The state was reportedly growing so discontented with ASF’s lack of progress that the government considered reopening the Gold Coast casino tender to other companies, including the possibility of building other casinos in the region. But Premier Annasacia Palaszczuk poured cold water on these reports this month, saying she didn’t want to turn the region into Australia’s version of the Las Vegas Strip.
A number of companies were reportedly vying to run ASF’s Gold Coast gaming operations, including local operator Crown Resorts. This April, Crown emphatically denied any deal with ASF, possibly due to Crown’s increasingly tetchy relationship with China following last year’s arrest of several high-ranking Crown execs for promoting illegal gambling activity on the mainland.