Happy Thanksgiving from GGB; Newsletter Returns December 4

Progress on Barrier Reef Casino

Plans for the Aquis Great Barrier Reef project (l.) are moving closer to realization. Officials in the Australian state of Queensland, where it will be located, have signed off on the land deal for the $4 billion-plus resort complex.

Queensland’s Foreign Investment Review Board has approved Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung’s application to acquire 340 hectares of land in the north of the Australian state for a A billion-plus megaresort near the Great Barrier Reef.

The approval is a major step forward for Fung’s proposed Aquis Great Barrier Reef—a mixed-use extravaganza that could include as many as nine luxury hotels, a casino with 1,500 slot machines and 750 table games, more than 1,300 apartments and luxury villas, a golf course, a 25,000-seat sports stadium, high-end retail, a man-made lake and reef lagoon and one of the world’s largest aquariums.

Wealthy Asians, high rollers from China in particular, are the target market, and Fung wants to be up and running by 2018. He says the complex will create more than 26,000 jobs at full build-out.

The land deal comes on the heels of the sale of the Reef Hotel Casino in nearby Cairns to an investment vehicle controlled by Fung. Aquis Casino Acquisitions is purchasing Reef Casino Trust, the property’s owners, together with Casino Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory, for A$270 million.