Aquis is officially and totally dead.
It's not clear how long it will take the politicians to accept this as fact, but it's now clear to us.
Chinese President Xi Jinxing today issued a second tranche of regulations to govern Chinese citizens gambling activities in overseas casinos. President Xi set out early in 2013 on a campaign to fight "tigers and flies" - government cadres of both high rank as well as lower-level bureaucrats.
By some estimates, almost 40% of the money wagered in Macau "VIP Gaming Rooms" was stolen from the Chinese government.
The 2013 regulations began a rapid decline in revenues at
the Macau-based casinos, on which Aquis was based. The Chinese government was beginning to squeeze the hot money out of the casinos, which they noted were "foreign owned".
All the Macau casinos have closed off huge areas of gaming - in some cases whole floors of VIP tables are now gone.
Then this past December, Xi visited Macau for the first time as leader and saw for himself the opulent extravagance at the foreign casinos along with the sewer that the rest of Macau has become. He reiterated his stance that there would be no let up in his "fierce and enduring" battle against corruption.
The first result of this visit was the shuttering of large, older Macau hotels that were essentially giant whorehouses, along with the arrest of senior officials including Alan Ho, younger brother of the previously politically protected Stanley Ho and SJM Holdings. Political protection of the rackets has ended.
The links in this story are important for readers to understand.
President Xi, known to be from the conservative faction of an already conservative government, is now doubling down on these policies in an announcement from Beijing late yesterday. An announcement that makes the finance of Aquis all but impossible for Tony Fung, or anyone else.
Xi has now made it clear that the Chinese government is not going to tolerate widespread gambling by its citizens ANYWHERE, with regulations now issued that will turn off the tap of Mainland Chinese money to Singapore, the Philippines, and Australia.
China has declared war on global gambling by Chinese citizens, now not just in Macau but around the world!
On translation of today's announcements, Bloomberg Financial called the impact on casino shares "A 2015 bloodbath".
This has served again to highlight the stupidity of Cairns (and indeed Australia) putting all their economic eggs into one basket. The current Australian economic collapse is unrelated to the so-called GFC, but instead the result of spending mining revenues like drunken sailors - with the money tap under control of outsiders. This overspending started under John Howard, who handed out tax cuts, social and family support, and corporate welfare instead of spending on infrastructure for the future. Kevin Rudd pissed away billions along the same line. And then as China has pulled the plug on the mining revenue, Australians are looking for another "sugar fix" of economic activity.
Can you imagine the profound damage to the Cairns community if Aquis was actually running and then China changed the rules? A community with an instant 10,000 unemployed isn't a pretty sight.
Time to go back to the drawing board and work to generate sustainable, long-term economic projects. Economic development is like the tortoise and the hare. Our so-called leaders have been riding a hare to nowhere. Time for pragmatists to take control. The people of Cairns need to be in control of our own destiny, not some bunch of dictators thousands of kilometers away.
Surely the Fungs are well aware of the continual flow of negative information coming out of China, and the incongruity of their proposed project. The press in Hong Kong has been reporting the collapse of the billionaires in HK that have big exposure to the casinos. How ridiculous that anyone thinks this $8B project can be financed in Hong Kong, or anywhere else.
The Fung's Canberra casino is even at risk now - it sure wasn't making any money in Canberra before. The announcement of Pat Flanagan as Aquis "Project Manager" was just more absurdity to come out of the Fung operation. A small town company doesn't get promoted from providing engineering services on small commercial projects and building toilet blocks to running an $8B project.
Aquis is dead.
Time to move on, kids. Nothing to see here.