Australia’s casino business continues to expand both in brick and mortar establishments as well as online with real money casinos. Tuesday’s post on CalvinAyre.com by Erik Gibb details an ongoing issue with an Australia casino facing a tight deadline to complete a significant expansion proposal. Back in June of 2017, Aquis Entertainment out of Hong Kong submitted a plan to Australian casino regulators for the wide-scale redevelopment of its Canberra casino. The upgrade established a $256 million-dollar budget with plans for six-star accommodations in a villa setting, seven new restaurants, a five-star hotel, nightclub, day spa and shopping mall according to this report and video.
Why Is Australia’s Casino Canberra Under the Gun Down Under?
To say this plan was ambitious would be a vast understatement. The promise of an additional 750,000 visitors per year caught the ears, and the eyes of those Aussie casino regulators and the preliminary proposal was approved. Casino Canberra now had the green light to move forward, but Aquis was less than thrilled with the details involved.
Hong Kong entertainment company
The Hong Kong entertainment company bought the casino in 2014 as a way to break into the Australian casino industry. The original plans included a second location in Queensland, but the proposal to redevelop Canberra was first on the agenda for expansion. As part of the expansion plan for the existing casino, Aquis went to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 2015 with the idea of having 500 poker machines on the casino floor. While the expansion plan was approved, ACT limited the casino to 200 poker machines. The added twist is that these pokies would have to be locked in at $2 a spin.
Australians love to Play Real Money Pokies
These terms did not sit well with Aquis given that it was counting heavily on the profit derived from real money gambling on poker machines to fund its expansion plans. These funding plans are for 500 devices with no limit in place. Apparently, Australians love to play slot machines (or as they say Down Under, play real money pokies).
Aquis Has A 30-Day Deadline?
Given the current issues between the two parties involved, there have been no new developments on the expansion project since the final approval came down in June of last year. The lack of progress moving forward has led to ACT putting some increased pressure on Aquis to keep things moving forward. According to the Canberra Times, as noted in this report, ACT has gone as far as to tell Aquis that there is now a 30-day deadline to this May 14 to finalize its expansion proposal.
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Australia’s Casino Canberra Needs Critical Information To Move Forward
Australian Gaming Minister Gordon Ramsay was quoted by that same news outlet a saying that ACT has yet to receive “critical information required for the process to move forward.” There was no definitive response from Aquis on the situation mentioned in this report. An unnamed spokesperson for the company said that the redevelopment plan was still under consideration, but they did not elaborate from there.
It will be interesting to see what happens between now and May 14. One way or the other, any decisions made (or not made) will have a profound impact on Aquis’s future in the Australia casino industry.
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