Aquis buys Canberra’s ailing casino

Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort Group has entered into a share purchase agreement to buy the Casino Canberra – that has been in decline for years – from Casinos Austria International.
Hong Kong-based Aquis owner Justin Fung said the company planned to invest in upgrading the Casino Canberra as soon as it took ownership of the casino.

Aquis has also confirmed a $276 million takeover bid for the Reef Casino Trust that owns the Reef Hotel and Casino in Cairns. The takeover bid began in November and Aquis has been conducting due diligence on the company since.

As part of its asset management strategy, Accor has sold its 29% stake in Reef Casino Trust to Aquis as well as its 50% stake in the related businesses of RCT (Casinos Austria Cairns, and Reef Corporate Service) for $85 million.

At the same time, Mr Fung has confirmed his main plan for a casino in a $4.2 billion integrated resort development at Yorkeys Knob on Cairn’s northern beaches.

“I can see the Reef Casino offering additional synergies and benefits to staff and the Cairns community through becoming part of that exciting and much larger integrated project,” he said.

Mr Fung said that if the acquisitions receive regulatory approvals, Aquis “will start working immediately to grow Casino Canberra and start creating tourism and jobs.” he said. “With our extensive contacts and experience in Asia, Aquis is already well placed to develop the market profile of Casino Canberra with international casino visitors.” he said.

The acquisition will need the approval of minister for gaming and racing Joy Burch and the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission.

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