Airlie Beach and Laguna Quays have been touted as potential sites for a casino.
Airlie Beach and Laguna Quays have been touted as potential sites for a casino. Max Fleet

Casinos at Airlie, Laguna Quays on the cards

THE former Laguna Quays Resort has been revealed as a potential site for a new casino.

The State Government has announced two potential casino resort sites are on the cards for the Whitsundays, a move which will be of great benefit to the region, Whitsunday Marketing and Development Ltd chief executive officer Danial Rochford said.

Two companies have shown an interest in partnering with the State Government to build the resorts: China-Australia Entrepreneurs Consortium Ltd has shown interest at Airlie Beach and Fullshare International is keen to build one at Laguna Quays.

Mr Rochford said an integrated resort would bring a number of benefits to the tourism industry, as would the possibility of attracting an internationally-recognised brand name resort.

"The concept of bringing a full service brand name hotel would be a huge boost," he said.

A resort with major conference facilities would also be a bonus and help boost the region's weekday and business tourist market.

Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney said the council had been building a relationship with the China-Australia Entrepreneurs group.

"We know they are very serious about investing in the Whitsunday region now," she said.

"It is very exciting to have two submissions within our region and if either one of them were to be approved by the Queensland Government it would be a huge boost to tourism, jobs and the economy for the Whitsunday region."

Companies have lodged expressions of interest with the State Government as part of its plan to develop three new integrated resorts in Queensland.

State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney said all applicants would be reviewed and a short-list would be prepared by the middle of this year. Those short-listed would then submit full proposals by late this year. Following final negotiations, a final decision for gaming licences is expected by mid-2015.

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