Aquis Entertainment Ltd, the gaming company of Hong Kong businessman Tony Fung that owns and operates Australia’s Casino Canberra, reported a loss of AU$3.4 million for FY2018 – the third consecutive year the company has run at a significant loss.
Since purchasing Casino Canberra in 2014 for AU$6 million, Aquis has seen the property bleed money as its fight to win approval for an AU$330 million redevelopment continues to face regulatory hurdles.
The company wants to transform Australia’s smallest casino into a world class integrated resort including two hotels, high-end dining, bars, cafes and luxury retail, however its most recent proposal was rejected by the ACT Government in December due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding slot machine regulation in the territory as well as financing details.
In the meantime, Aquis has reported losses of AU$7.7 million in 2017, AU$13.8 million in 2017 and now another AU$3.4 million in 2018. The 2017 figure was exacerbated by a write down of deferred tax assets of AU$5.5 million.
The company revealed that its revenue in 2018 remained essentially flat at AU$26 million, with gaming revenue up by 0.85% but F&B sales down 12%. 2018 was also the first full year of operations since Casino Canberra launched its refurbished gaming floor.
Discussing its outlook for 2019, Aquis noted that it had been offered the possibility of installing 200 EGMs to operate within the casino and was in ongoing discussions with the government regarding legislative requirements. Under ACT law, Casino Canberra has traditionally been unable to operate electronic gaming machines.