Canberra Casino is getting ready for a massive upgrade. The idea is to convert it from a local gambling spot to an international tourist venue. The owner, Aquis Entertainment, is already holding discussions with the government and the representatives of the community. If all goes as per plan then the actual work would begin in 2016 and the redeveloped casino would open to the public in 2018.
The Redevelopment Of Canberra Casino
Aquis Entertainment executive director Justin Fung spoke at length on the why and how of this project. He pointed out that the growth in tourism to Australia, particularly from Asian countries, is to a fair extent casino gambling related. Other casinos in Australia are already expanding their capacities and services. Crown Resorts' luxury hotel and VIP-only casino at Barangaroo in Sydney and Echo Entertainment's casino-resort project at Queen's Wharf in Brisbane are examples. Canberra is being left out of the growth because Canberra Casino is at best a local gambling spot without any "wow" factor. Fung said, "We saw the potential here. We saw what Canberra has to offer and, not only that, what it was lacking and how we could fill that void."
The economic analysis carried out by Aquis indicates that a revamped Canberra Casino would increase tourism to the region by over 700,000 people a year. The detailed proposal of what needs to be done is already on the table. The resort integrated with the casino would include six-star villa accommodation, a five-star hotel, cafes, restaurants, bars and a luxury shopping mall. The existing National Convention Centre would also be redeveloped. Mr Fung said the gambling facilities would be augmented. The number of gaming tables and poker machines is under discussion with the ACT government. The plan is to acquire poker machines from other clubs that have more than they need, so that there is no net increase in the number of poker machines in the ACT. There is already such a trading scheme in place. The cost of the makeover is budgeted at $330 million. During construction, the proposed casino-resort would generate up to 200 jobs. Once operational, it would employ about 420 people. It would then generate an additional $60 million a year in tax revenue.
About Canberra Casino And Aquis Entertainment
Canberra Casino opened in 1994 and is located in the Central Business District of the city. A year ago it was purchased by Aquis Entertainment. The owner company is based in Hong Kong but has substantial entertainment, resorts and real estate interests in Queensland and the ACT.