Australia’s Echo Entertainment is joining forces with Hong Kong conglomerates Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium in a bid for a resort casino in the Queensland capital of Brisbane.
The combination beefs up Echo’s bid to keep rival Crown Resorts from dismantling its longstanding monopoly in Queensland’s largest city by narrowing the competition for a license there to three bidders. The third is Shanghai-based property conglomerate Greenland Holding.
The new group is known as Destination Brisbane Consortium, to which Echo will contribute 50 percent of the capital to develop the A$1 billion-plus resort. Echo also will operate the casino. Far East and Chow Tai Fook will each contribute 25 percent and will develop a luxury residential component included in the bid.
Queensland is in the throes of the largest gambling expansion in Australia’s history with the government deciding last year to open the state to three new licenses for integrated resorts, two of which have been tentatively awarded: one near Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef in the state’s northern tropics and one on the popular Pacific Ocean resort of Gold Coast, where Echo has held a monopoly for years.
The state is expected to award the Brisbane license in early 2015.
“Echo is delighted to work in partnership with two significant Asian-based partners and the government to develop and submit a proposal for the Queen’s Street Wharf site, which will deliver major investment in tourism infrastructure including a world-class integrated resort to Brisbane,” Chief Executive Matt Bekeir said.