Gold Coast Bulletin
IN most traditional Australian raffles you’d be lucky to come away with a chook, meat tray or bottle of cheap bubbles.
But if you buy a raffle ticket from Doug and Sally Beitz, you’ll go in the running to win a multimillion-dollar resort in the Pacific.
In 1994, the Gold Coast couple decided to spend their entire life savings to build the waterfront resort and scuba diving centre on the Micronesian island of Kosrae.
“Channel Seven used to have Frank Warwick’s World Around Us on a Saturday night at 6.30,” Mr Beitz said.
“We watched it and it had a doco on the Federated States of Micronesia and it sort of went from there.”
More than two decades later, with three of their four sons having moved back to Australia and a three-year-old granddaughter in Southport, Doug Beitz, 52, said it was time to return home.
However, the former Southport firefighter said he did not like to go about things the “normal” way and was convinced to follow his gut after a proposal from his son, Adam.
“We were starting to get ready to sell the property and then all of a sudden I had a random thought about it (the raffle) which came and went,” he said.
“The next day Adam had been thinking about the same thing in depth, had done a lot of research and then hit us with the plan.”
The resort has 16 rooms with two double beds each with an additional two stand-alone units.
The couple are selling tickets for $US49 each, with entrants also receiving a downloadable image from award-winning Australian photographer Matt Shepherd.
The resort will only be raffled off on July 26 if more than 50,000 tickets are sold.
If less than 50,000 are sold, half of the money raised will go to the drawn winner with the family taking the remainder of the funds.
Mr Beitz said it had taken 14 months of negotiations with his solicitor in Micronesia and banks to ensure the raffle was above board and to put efficient payment mechanisms in place.
“People would ask, why the hell would you leave that?” he said.
“We’ve had our time in the sun. We’ve been there, done that. This is a new phase in our life — we’ve got this beautiful three-year-old granddaughter in our lives now, we’ve got ageing parents we need to be near. It’s just time for us to be here and settle with our family on the Gold Coast.”
Gold Coast councillor and property law solicitor Cameron Caldwell said Mr Beitz would have to be careful to ensure he had the proper legal advice before raffling the property due to the volume of regulation for operators in the field.
“This is an unusual way to dispose of an asset,” he said.
“It’s not surprising that he’s come across some technical hurdles but innovation is the way of the future and perhaps this has been a test case for the way things could be … in the future.
“Raffles and ticket sales are a highly regulated activity which can be difficult to navigate for first time operators.”
Cost to stay at the resort: US$119 per night
Cost to get there: As much $2000 to fly into the Kosrae international airport. To get there from the Gold Coast you can fly from Brisbane to the Marshall Islands and then on to Micronesia.
It boasts: An oasis popular with surfers, snorkellers, divers and stand-up paddle boarders with reefs, and ruins of sunken ships from World War II to explore.
Source: Gold Coast Bulletin