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Another FNQ businessman rules out casino near Cairns

Thu, Sep 29, 6:15pm by Staff Writer

The developer behind a $650 million eco-resort at Kuranda, Ken Lee is categorically ruling out any involvement in a casino.

Despite having extensive experience running casinos, Ken Lee said he would not be applying for the licence which was originally considered by Aquis, who has opted out of a casino as part of his Yorkeys Knob project. The licence will remain in the Far North if Treasurer Curtis Pitt has his way.

Mr Lee, who is based in Macau told the Cairns Post. “No, no, no. I’ve been there and done that and I want to do something different,”.

He said there would be no casino at the Myola property nor was he interested in building one elsewhere in the region.

“There is already a successful casino in the region and I wish to see it grow bigger and better,” he said.

Aquis, led by Hong Kong tycoon Tony Fung, had initially mooted an $8 billion development in Cairns, which would be an integrated resort and casino.

But the casino concept gradually lost its lustre, with Mr Fung confirming in August the casino was no longer part of his plans.

“My original concept was casino-led,” he said. “But the whole casino industry is not the same as it was 26 months ago. It has been six years and lots of time, money and effort on my side, but the market has changed.”

Aquis, who own and operate the Canberra Casino and have been linked with another casino build on the Gold Coast, would now develop a $2bn luxury hotel, apartment and villa complex at Yorkey’s Knob.

Meanwhile, Mr Lee said he hoped KUR-World and Reef Hotel Casino would work together to market the region, envisaging visitors to his tourism attraction also spending a day or two at the Cairns CBD venue.

The new luxury eco-resort will encompass a working cattle farm, an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, 380 residential villas, a tertiary education campus and sport facilities and a nature based adventure park. Lee said his passion was to share the beauty, cleanliness and environmental assets of the region with people from big cities and overseas.

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