China bets big on Australian casinos

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Chinese investors are betting big on Australia's gaming scene, and are looking to build major casinos across the country in a bid to bring more Asian travelers Down Under.

There are good reasons for this: The number of Asian visitors in Australia has more than doubled over the past five years to 1.2 million per year, and according to new figures from Tourism Australia, each Chinese visitor spends an average of $8,000 while they’re here. That's $3,000 more than the average spend for visitors from anywhere else. 

Chinese visitors are worth an estimated $8.6 billion to Australia, and spend approximately one in four of all tourism dollars in the country.

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Australian companies are teaming up with Chinese investors to create JVs behind new multi-billion-dollar integrated casino resorts. For example, Australian company ASF partnered with Chinese state-owned enterprises CCCC Guangzhou Dredging and China State Construction Engineering on a $2-billion project on the Gold Coast. The waterfront development will include "multiple" luxury hotels as well as restaurants, serviced residences and conference facilities.

The Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises have joined forces with the Star Entertainment Group, meanwhile, to build a $2 billion casino resort in Brisbane. And while Tony Fung’s Aquis Australia has hit roadblocks in a planned Cairns casino, the company is now seeking permission to build a 48-story hotel with 580 guestrooms and suites at the Pacific Point Apartment complex site on Main Beach Parade. The hotel is expected to cost $440 million.

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