SKYCITY Entertainment Group
POWER SCORE: 859
POSITION LAST YEAR: 33
CLAIMS TO FAME
Former boss of South Africa’s biggest casino operator
Now into his third year with the New Zealand-based casino operator, Graeme Stephens certainly hasn’t had it easy in 2019.
The company is in the midst of major upgrades to its two biggest properties, the most notable being the development of a new NZ$700 million international convention center and connected hotel nearby flagship IR SKYCITY Auckland. The NZICC, as it is called, was originally due to open earlier this year but lengthy delays had pushed that date back to late 2020 – even before a devastating fire broke out on the building’s rooftop in late October. SKYCITY has flagged further delays as a result.
Far smoother has been an AU$330 million upgrade to SKYCITY Adelaide, due for completion in 2021. To help fund these upgrades – along with other planned improvements to the company’s casinos in Queenstown and Hamilton – SKYCITY has now completed the AU$188 million sale of the former SKYCITY Darwin to US firm Delaware North. It also sold the long-term concession over its Auckland carparks for NZ$220 million.
In August, the company launched a Malta-based, New Zealand-facing online casino, SkyCityCasino.com, which appears to be designed to push the government into proper regulation of the country’s online gaming industry. Time will tell how that plays out.
In the meantime, a rebound in the VIP segment, where FY19 turnover grew 36.2%, was a promising result for the company moving forward and helped overcome a year of bad luck at the tables to guide a very slight increase in revenue to NZ$822.3 million.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.