ACT govt gives Canberra Casino pokies deadline
The government has given the casino a month to finalise its proposal to add more poker machines.
Australia.- The ACT government has given the Canberra Casino a month to respond to the unsolicited bid to operate poker machines. Aquis Entertainment has to finalise its proposal by May 14th.
Gaming Minister Gordon Ramsay said that the company has doubts after the government changed ACT’s gambling laws to allow the casino to have poker machines (pokies), as the conditions are too strict. Aquis Entertainment came up with the unsolicited bid for a US$330 million rebuild of the casino in 2015.
While the initial proposal consisted of 500 poker machines in exchange for building two luxury hotels on site as well as new bar and retail options, the ACT Legislative Assembly declared last year that it would only allow the casino to operate 200 poker machines and 60 fully-automated table games, limited to US$2 spins.
Nevertheless, a spokesman for Aquis said that the company was still interested in the redevelopment. “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,” he said.
“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,” Aquis said.