ACT Government Extends Deadline for Canberra Casino Redevelopment Proposal


The company planning to make Canberra Casino redevelopment – Aquis Entertainment – has received an extension to finalize its proposal about the project. Last month, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government provided the operator with one month to move on with its investment’s unsolicited bid.

In mid-April, the ACT Government gave Aquis Entertainment with a deadline until May 14th to progress its multi-million bid for a $330-million rebuild of Canberra Casino in return for an official permission to operate poker machines. The company originally brought forward the bid in 2015.

Today, a spokesman of the ACT Government officially confirmed that the Government had offered the operator an expansion of its 30-day deadline in which it was supposed to provide the financial information needed to progress its unsolicited bid for the gambling venue. As revealed by the Government’s spokesman, the extension was granted after an interim correspondence from Aquis requesting for more clarity on certain matters related to the proposal was received by the ACT Government. According to him, the extension given to the company is reasonable considering the situation, with a dialogue between the company and the Government to be held on these matters.

For the time being, no new deadline for the information to be provided has been set, despite that the two parties are expected to work on new timeframes.

Aquis Entertainment to Transform Canberra Casino

As previously reported by Casino News Daily, Tony Fung, the owner of Aquis Entertainment Group, was given until May 14th to submit a final proposal for redevelopment of Canberra Casino. Last month, Aquis reiterated its willingness to transform the Canberra Casino into a high-class leisure and nightlife hub, with two stages of the process planned to be completed over five years.

The original bid of the company sought a permission to be allowed to operate 500 poker machines on local premises, with the existing legislation suspending Canberra Casino from offering pokies. At the time when the 30-day deadline was given to Aquis, the Gaming Minister Gordon Ramsay said that the ACT Government needed to know how many pokies are planned to be run by the casino. In addition, various ways to reduce the number of pokies from 5,000 to 4,000, under the deal agreed between the Labors and the Greens.

Considering the new legislation introduced in 2017, Aquis Entertainment has said that the Government needed to be realistic in its expectations related to the reduction of the number of pokes, considering the current commercial uncertainty.

For the time being, only 38 poker machines licenses have been surrendered since the implementation of the new rules. Currently, 4,985 authorizations are still available, with a total of 4,549 pokies still operating on gaming venues around the country. The operators forced to surrender their licenses were expected to begin in April, however, the deadline for them to do that was extended by a year.

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