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Casino Canberra Sale To Iris CC Holdings Receives Regulatory Approval

Posted on December 28, 2022 | 8:28 am

Aquis Entertainment, the company that has owned and operated Casino Canberra for the past eight years, has announced that it has finally received regulatory approval for the sale of the casino to Iris CC Holdings.

The casino is the main asset of Aquis Entertainment and it is set to be sold to Iris CC Holdings for a total of 63 million Australian dollars. The company has made the announcement in a filing in which it noted that “all of the conditions precedent to completion of the share purchase agreement have been satisfied”.

The deal is not yet fully closed but at this point it shouldn’t be more than a formality as the two companies have to agree on an appropriate closing date. The filing also revealed that Aquis Entertainment is considering using the funds from the sale to consolidate the company’s future “as a listed entity”. 

The sale is expected to be completed “by the end of January”, around six months after Aquis Entertainment first announced that it accepted the offer from Iris CC Holdings for Casino Canberra. At that time Iris CC Holdings announced that it was going to keep all the employees that are currently working at Casino Canberra. 

Earlier this year, Aquis Entertainment had received an offer worth 52 million Australian dollars for Casino Canberra from Capital Leisure & Entertainment, which is owned and controlled by interests associated with the Oscars Group, the hospitality giant that owns 30 different venues in New South Wales.

The owners of Casino Canberra did sign a share purchase agreement with Oscars but then received a better offer from Iris CC Holdings and that persuaded them to break the agreement. Aquis Entertainment had to pay Oscars a break fee worth 1 million dollars.

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Years Of Financial Losses

Casino Canberra had been recording financial losses in recent years, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Aquis Entertainment kept trying to set up plans to redevelop the property, but their intentions were not met with approval by the local authorities.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government turned the company’s plans down every time, and eventually that led to the decision to sell the casino. Aquis purchased Casino Canberra in 2014 and submitted its original redevelopment plans in 2015, including a request for permission to install up to 500 slot machines.

The initial project was rejected in December 2018, but the ACT Government issued a counter offer which was going to allow Aquis to install just 200 slot machines and 60 Electronic Gaming Machines. That counteroffer was turned down by the company.

Source:“Aquis Entertainment approved for $42mln sale of Casino Canberra to Iris CC Holdings“, Asia Gaming Brief, December 23, 2022.

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