The Queensland government is closer to deciding who will be granted three new casino licences.

The race between developers to secure one of three Queensland casino licences is now officially underway.

Acting State Development Minister Ian Walker says the first Expression of Interest (EOI) documents have been issued to parties interested in developing new integrated resort developments across the state.

They include one at the Queen’s Wharf development in Brisbane and two in regional Queensland.

The state government last year announced the approvals would be accompanied by casino licences.

Mr Walker said eight registrations had so far been received, but other groups had until February 28 to register interest and receive EOI documents.

“To proceed to the next step, these parties will now need to clearly demonstrate they have experience in design, development and operation of large scale integrated resort and entertainment projects, or will be part of a bona-fide bidding team,” Mr Walker said in a statement.

Mr Walker said it was too early to say whether the parties would formally submit bids.

Billionaire developer Bob Ell’s Leda Group has already been ruled out of contention after Premier Campbell Newman announced the government would not support its Gold Coast Ocean Terminal Project at Bilinga, near Kirra beach.

He said the government’s stance reflected the importance of the Gold Coast’s beaches.

EOIs for the Integrated Resort Developments close on March 31.