Australian Competition Commission highlights Aquis resort concern

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has raised concerns about Aquis Reef Holding’s planned acquisition of the Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns, saying it may affect consumer choice.
    The commission said that the concerns stem from the fact that Aquis, backed by Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung, also plans a multi-billion dollar integrated resort at Yorkey’s Knob.
    “The proposed acquisition has the potential to reduce the number of casino owners in Cairns from two to one, removing potential competition between the Reef Casino and Aquis,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. “The ACCC is concerned that the acquisition has the potential to deprive customers of the benefit of competition between these casinos, such as promotions, rebates or reductions or the quality in the other goods and services provided in conjunction with casino table games.”
    The ACCC called for additional comment on the proposed acquisition and said it will continue to investigate competition concerns. The final decision date has been set for August 21st.
    The Aquis resort will be one of the world’s largest. The Queensland government has shortlisted the project for one of two regional licenses being awarded, depending on the clearance of regulatory and environmental hurdles.
    The new resort has requested 750 gaming tables and 1,500 gaming machines.
    As well as the two regional licenses, Queensland is also offering an additional license for a development of the Queen’s Wharf in the central business district in Brisbane.