Aquis Entertainment Gets Greenlight To Discuss Casino Redevelopment
Hong Kong-based casino operator Aquis Entertainment has received governmental approval to move forward to the next stage of its bid to redevelop a major casino in Canberra, Australia.
According to sources, Aquis has been given approval for starting detailed negotiations but only after it furnishes further information regarding the source of funds for the project.
Aquis made the announcement of receiving the go-ahead from the government of Canberra in a filing made with the Australian Stock Exchange last week, which was later confirmed by the spokesperson for Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
According to Aquis chief executive Jessica Mellor, the design plans for the rejigged property retain a range of proposed features such as six-star villa accommodation, a five-star hotel, a night club, seven restaurants plus bars. Other facilities include a luxury shopping area as well as a day spa. The new plans for the casino include a brand new entrance on the side that opens to Glebe Park as well as extra car parking.
Tony Fung Chariman of Aquis has expressed his desire to reinvent the Canberra casino property asa luxury resort aimed at attracting high rollers. Citing a Deloitte report, the company claims that an additional 617,000 people will brought into the area by the casino boosting gross territory product by $541 million through to 2030.
Mellor stated that she was encouraged by the supportive responses from the Australian Capital territory (ACT) government to the business case presented by Aquis. While the company bought the casino in 2015, the business case was present during the middle of 2016.
In a statement Mellor said,
Our proposal provides the ACT with a once in a lifetime tourism infrastructure opportunity that will not only facilitate much needed urban renewal in Canberra's CBD, but deliver meaningful employment.
The approval to move forward was received from the directorate assessing the bid and not the cabinet itself.
The casino plans also include hosting 200 poker machines. In a controversial move, the state government gave Aquis approval for 200 pokie machine licenses which upset Canberra clubs as so far licenses were only being approved for Canberra's clubs. The clubs have since been carrying out a high profile campaign against the decision.
The Green party has also expressed opposition to the pokies proposal and has said that it will support the plan only if restrictions are put on the amount of bets possible on the pokies as well as installing a fixed maximum-spend pre-commitment for gamblers.