Billionaire's plans to build world's biggest hotel in Cairns put on ice

A Hong Kong billionaire has put on hold plans to buy a casino in Cairns, Australia, and build a multibillion-dollar resort nearby amid regulatory delays, reports The Age. Tony Fung's Aquis Casino Acquisitions has offered about $217 million to take over Reef Casino Trust, which owns the Reef Hotel Casino complex in Cairns.

He also wants to build a luxury casino and resort at Yorkey's Knob, north of Cairns. Aquis reportedly had plans to spend $8.15 billion building a casino resort with 7,500 hotel rooms, an 18-hole golf course and water park on a former sugarcane farm.

But Aquis on Monday said Queensland's Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation was unable to meet a November 28 deadline for a decision on whether to grant regulatory approval for the proposed takeover.

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The offer expires on November 28, and Aquis says it will not extend it. Therefore, the offer is likely to lapse.

Aquis said it was still committed to being a major investor in Cairns and far north Queensland, and was continuing its work in progressing the resort development at Yorkeys Knob.

However, the purchase of the Reef Hotel Casino was an important part of its development plan for the resort.

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