The government of the Australian Capital Territory has given Aquis Entertainment Group a four week deadline to submit its final revised blueprint for the AU$330m ($251m) redevelopment of Canberra Casino.
According to local media reports, Aquis has until 14 May to deliver its revised proposal after the company’s original 2015 bid – which sought permission to operate 500 slot machines – was rejected.
In May 2016, the ACT government instead announced an in-principal agreement allowing Aquis to run 200 slot machines and 60 electronic table games.
However, Aquis Entertainment CEO, Jessica Mellor, contends that following this, the regional government failed to contact the company for 17 months over plans for the company to invest.
“Aquis lodged the detailed business case for the project in June 2016 and did not receive advice from the government for some 17 months,” she explained.
“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.”
The ACT government is currently in the process of cutting the number of authorised slot machines in the Australian capital from 5,000 to 4,000 and would require Aquis to buy 300 slot machine licences, forfeiting 100 of them, in order to install 200 machines as per the earlier in-principal agreement.