Is the Fung Dream dead?
It is shocking to us that ANYONE without gaming experience is being considered for a gaming licence in Queensland. The Brisbane Casino licence was investigated and approved - for an Australian citizen. Questions to Minister for MacKenzie Gavin King about the citizenship held by Tony Fung and his son have received no answer. And after the Fung ultimatum, all the MP's have gone into hiding about the issue.
In Macau, ALL the casino operations are run by experienced casino operators. Galaxy Entertainment, Wynn, and Sands were all vetted and approved to operate these gigantic casino operations there. Sands is also running the Marina Bay in Singapore.
In the Bahamas, the almost-completed Baha-Mar Chinese Casino & Hotel project (roughly half the size of the Fung dream) was shut down during construction when the Chinese failed to proffer the required experienced gaming operators. The Bahamian government was well-briefed on the use of casinos for money laundering, and they got tough on the Chinese developers until they complied.
|Dad, I think I locked the keys in the plane|
The Baha-Mar project had experienced, world class hoteliers on-board with that project from the beginning. Here we are, over a year after the Fung Dream was announced, and there has been no hotel company willing to come forward and offer support.
One can see from the EIS response that the Queensland Government is prepared to "look the other way" on any and all environmental issues. Their additional questions posed to the developer were softball non-issues. There is no evidence that the Queensland Government is going to demand any of the clear infrastructure shortcomings be met by the developer.
However the Probity Investigation for the Casino Operational licence is a serious matter. The World Bank and other international banking groups can, and have, blacklisted countries that have looked the other way on money laundering and other banking issues related to casinos. The Queensland Government has made a huge mistake by not insisting a "REAL" casino operator be retained for the project like every other sensible government around the world.
Come to think of it, The Fung Dream is very much like The Freebody Dream. Paul Freebody purchased a much-too-small site for his proposed waterpark, and then continues to foolishly insist that he can run it - despite being unable to successfully run his other waterpark, the Witches and Bitches Car Wash Cafe. Reliable sources in the community have confirmed that Freebody was offered a site adjacent to Tjaupkai and the Waterski Park for his waterpark - as a joint venture with Tjaupkai, an experienced tourism operator. But Freebody thinks he's smarter than everyone. . . . hence the reason five years later he's got nothing.
Fung's deadline rant this week has all the hallmarks of the Freebody Syndrome. Sure, the Fung's have paid for some fancy drawings and a voluminous report of mostly the same EIS boilerplate that everyone gets. But you've got to wonder about the probity AND sanity of a developer that won't bring in an experienced casino operator for the project.