Aquis Canberra Casino Plans Quashed

canberra on map

After eighteen months trying Aquis Entertainment’s rejuvenation proposals for Australia’s Casino Canberra have ended.

ACT Pulls the Plug:

Aquis, Hong Kong-based, had proposed a $256 million upgrade which the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) accepted subject to some adjustments. The main point of contention appeared to centre on slot machines. Aquis proposed 500 whilst ACT only approved 200. This gap put Aquis in a difficult position. Talks stalled with Aquis looking at options to try and find a way out. The good news to them now is that ACT’s pulled the plug.

Gambling Regulations or Slot Machine Gap:

Andrew Barr, ACT’s Chief Minister, explained their reasons were related to gambling regulations plus project financing. Aquis commented that decisions were made by ACT that contradicted their original expectations. A clear reference to the 300 slot machines gap which put Aquis in a complicated position.

Tactical Moves:

From a financial viewpoint, Aquis failed to satisfy ACT with full data related to how the project would be financed. ACT wanted strategic data related to licence fees, tax rates, and legislative outlines. Aquis failed to deliver which might well have been a tactical move in retaliation to the slot machines gap.

Aquis Still Interested:

Despite this Aquis, who’ve had a vested interest in this project for more than four years, still, harbour some hopes that a deal can be worked out. They have a firm belief that Canberra’s CKD will provide Canberra with leisure opportunities that will put Canberra in a different league and generate huge tourism numbers. For this reason, Aquis will persist in their ACT interactions to see if they can reach some kind of agreement.

Working With the EDD:

Aquis acquired this location in 2014 and have been asked to work with Australia’s Economic Development Division (EDD) to try and find some way of working out a deal. If they hit roadblocks again they still might have other options to fall back on such as selling the casino or relinquishing their controlling stake.

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