ASF Consortium, the group behind the proposed A$3-billion casino resort in Australia’s Gold Coast, may not be able to carry out the ambitious project, if it fails to secure additional financial backing.
According to the Chinese-backed consortium’s half-yearly accounts, it had lost A$92 million of the A$102 it had raised from various investors. And questions over the group’s financial viability were raised after it had become clear that it had burned through almost A$6 million during the second half of 2016, which had left it with A$5.1 million in cash.
In a response to the growing concerns over the future of the expensive Gold Coast casino resort, Louis Chien, Director at parent company ASF Group, said that the consortium has the financial ability to complete what would be the biggest development project in the city and the region.
In 2015, ASF Consortium proposed to develop a A$7-billion casino resort and a cruise ship terminal on the Wavebreak Island. However, the project met strong opposition from environmental groups and other influential parties. The investor group was then considered a potential candidate for the construction of the Gold Coast resort.
ASF Consortium is yet to submit its full plan, including details about its financial backing, to the Queensland government. It has a mid-2017 deadline to present said plan. What is more, a public consultation process should first be completed before the group is granted the necessary license to operate a casino at its A$3-billion five-tower complex.
After news about ASF Consortium’s cash loss spread, comments emerged that the government may have failed to conduct due diligence in relation to the group’s financial backing and potential to complete the project. It became clear on Tuesday that the Queensland Department of State Development had carried out a preliminary probe, but is yet to look into the matter in greater depth. According to local media, a final decision could be expected early next year.
Although ASF Consortium has repeatedly confirmed its intention to build the Gold Coast resort, it has just as repeatedly refused to reveal who exactly would provide the necessary funds. The group has said that it has secured support from a Chinese government-run construction group, a top-tier casino operator, and at least one more key investor.
It had formerly been suggested that Crown Resorts had expressed interest in operating the gambling venue to be part of the resort, but it seems that the Australian casino operator has walked out of discussions.