Wednesday 22. June, 2016

Canberra Casino Expansion Application Moves to Second Stage

Aquis Entertainment, the new owners of Canberra Casino, are planning a $307 million upgrade for the casino. The application process is progressing and has now moved to the second stage with a business plan submitted to the ACT government.

Aquis previously submitted a concept submission and the government announced that the submission “met all requirements of the first stage of the government’s investment proposal guidelines.” The second stage of the application process, the business case, will set out the casino’s planned expansion of leisure and nightlife offerings.

Aquis purchased Canberra Casino in 2015 for $6 million and immediately invested $14 million into the first stage of its refurbishment. It is now planning stage two which will cost $307 million and will include a VIP gaming facility, new gaming areas, a five-star hotel, six-star villas, restaurants and a shopping mall.

Aquis is aiming to attract International VIP players, a change from its current heavily-local clientele. According to Aquis, it’s proposed 700,000 additional visitors will see the casino “shifting from a predominantly local catchment casino today, to one patronised more heavily by interstate and international tourists.”

Changes have already begun for the casino, which is the only casino in Australia without poker machines. In May, the government announced it will license Canberra Casino to operate 200 poker machines on condition that it purchases existing machines from local clubs. In addition, the ACT government recently announced that it will extend its license to allow multi-terminal machines to operate at the casino and that the number of machines allowed will be increased from 22 to 50.

Clubs ACT has been strongly opposed to the casino operating poker machines, stating that the money earned from the machines will be taken away from the community and instead go to a foreign owner.

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