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Casino Canberra will be sold by Aquis for AU$52 million

After signing a share purchase agreement with Capital Leisure & Entertainment Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the Oscars Group, for AU$52 million (US$36 million), Aquis Entertainment Ltd is about to sell Casino Canberra.

Oscars would buy all of the shares in Casino Canberra Ltd, which has the licence to run Casino Canberra and owns all of the related assets, if the sale was approved by the government. The deal will be paid for without any debt or cash, except for a AU$3 million (US$2.1 million) cash payment that will help Aquis meet some casino regulations.

Aquis said that the sale was meant to help the company find new business opportunities. An update is expected by 30 June 2022, which is the end of the company's financial year.

“The Transaction provides considerable value to the company and its shareholders,” said Allison Gallaugher, CEO of Aquis and Casino Canberra.

“It recognises the attractive operating performance of the business which has continued to trade well since reopening post the COVID-19 lockdowns. As an employee of Casino Canberra, I am also very excited about the future and working with Oscars on the continual improvement of our business.”

Mario Gravanis, Director of Oscars, added, “We are excited by the opportunity to acquire the Casino Canberra business. We will be working closely with Aquis over the coming months to satisfy the necessary conditions precedent with minimal disruption to the business and look forward to working with the Casino Canberra team in the future.”

Aquis failed to reach a deal with the ACT Government on a projected AU$330 million (US$226 million) redevelopment of the site, resulting in the sale of Casino Canberra.

In 2015, Aquis, which had acquired Casino Canberra in 2014, presented its initial refurbishment plans, which included a proposal to install up to 500 slot machines. Under present law, Casino Canberra is not authorised to run slot machines.

The company's original offer was rejected in December 2018, with the government stating that the plan was unworkable owing to continued regulatory and finance uncertainties. Instead, the ACT Government submitted a counteroffer that would allow Aquis to operate 200 slot machines and 60 electronic gaming machines (EGMs) under severe restrictions. Aquis has rejected the decreased offer.



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