SkyCity Entertainment Group’s long-awaited revamp of Adelaide Casino has the go-ahead after the company sealed the deal with the South Australian government, it was announced this week.
The $330 million upgrade will include more gaming tables, as well as a luxury boutique hotel, extra VIP rooms, several bars and three new restaurants.
The Auckland-based company, which purchased the property in 2000, said this week that the expansion would provide “a significant opportunity to grow market share and to turnaround an underperforming casino”.
As part of the upgrade to Adelaide’s Riverbank Precinct, the adjoining hotel will have greater capacity than originally envisaged, with 123 rooms, up from 89, to cater for increasing demand for accommodation, SkyCity said.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said: “This redevelopment, and the wider development across the Riverbank Precinct, is a welcome investment in the state. We look forward to offering both locals and tourists the opportunity to enjoy a world-class entertainment precinct
Much Needed Jobs for SA
“We’ve taken a fresh look at both our existing building and the design for the expansion,” said Adelaide Casino general manager Luke Walker. “We’ve redesigned interiors, revitalised social, entertainment, and gaming spaces, and relocated restaurants and bars.”
Walker estimated the project will create up to 1,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent positions, a potential boon for South Australia which has the highest unemployment rate in the country, standing at 6.6 per cent in June.
The news was also welcomed this week by competing casinos companies, who applauded the boost to the tourism industry.
“We support the development of tourism assets to ensure Australia has the necessary infrastructure to leverage the opportunity on offer from dramatic increases in international visitation, especially from Asia,” a Star spokesman in Sydney said.
$95 Million Written Off in Darwin
At the same time, SkyCity announced it had written down the value of its Darwin Casino by $95 million to $195 million. This was blamed on the expansion of pokies in the Northern Territory, following the state government’s unexpected decision to remove the cap on the number of machines, which has led to a 75 percent increase on the number of machines in two years.
Swings and roundabouts, but SkyCity is focusing on the positive, and the write-down will free up cash for the Adelaide project.
CEO Graeme Stephens said in a statement on Wednesday the redevelopment would “secure SkyCity’s position in the heart of Adelaide’s entertainment precinct.”
Work will begin next year and Stephens believes it will play a “major role” in the rejuvenation of the city’s Riverbank precinct.