The ACT government has given Aquis Entertainment Group four weeks to submit its final blueprint for the AU$330m redevelopment of Canberra Casino.
Aquis’ initial 2015 proposal which included provisions for 500 slot machines was turned down with the ACT government saying it would agree to 200 slot machines and 60 electronic table games. This decision was made back in May 2016 with Aquis not making any official plans to take the government up on its proposal. The government wants Aquis to buy 300 slot machine licenses from local clubs, forfeiting 100 of them, and then installing 200 machines.
A spokesperson for Aquis said: “Given the size of the proposed investment, the government must be realistic in its expectations in relation to the detail and speed at which information can be provided in the face of significant commercial uncertainty. The legislative changes, passed in late 2017, require a thorough process to be undertaken to determine the impact of such significant regulatory and land use restrictions as those imposed. We have advised the government that this process is ongoing and as part of that their input will be required to clarify a number of outstanding issues.”
Canberra Casino, which Aquis bought for AU$6m in 2014, made losses of AU$13.8m in 2017. This was the second year the venue has posted a loss although this year’s loss has almost doubled from the $7.7m loss reported in 2016.