Silent treatment came from ACT government: Aquis

Hong-Kong based integrated resort operator Aquis Entertainment Limited responded to recent media reports that alleged that the company had “gone cold” in its $256.4 million bid to rebuild Casino Canberra.

On Monday, the ACT government wrote to the Hong Kong operator, giving the company until May 14 to finalize its proposal.

Gaming Minister Gordon Ramsay alleged that the company had gone cold, after the government changed the ACT’s gambling laws to allow the casino to have poker machines, with conditions.

Ramsay said the government’s support for Aquis operating poker machines hinged in its redevelopment of the casino precinct, but had not yet received “critical information required for the process to move forward.”

However, Aquis lashed back at Ramsay’s claims this week, explaining that the company had lodged a detailed business case for the project in June 2016 and did not receive advice from the government for some 17 months.

“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. Aquis has 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 it remains committed in pursuing the redevelopment and will work with then government to progress their plans within the timeframe they have requested.