SkyCity Entertainment could be set to sell its Darwin casino for more than $200 million according to a recent report in The Australian.
At this stage, sources linked to the casino group have denied that a sale is close to completion. However, ahead of the company’s annual report on August 8, a spokesperson said there has been interest in the property.
“I have not seen the report, but I can tell you categorically SkyCity has not sold SkyCity Darwin. There are some people looking at the property. A number are interested but nothing has been sold,” the spokesperson told the New Zealand Herald.
According to The Australian, a deal with Taiwan’s Pau Jar Group is almost done and could be worth SkyCity’s $200 million+ asking price.
Pau Jar May Pay the $200 Asking Price
Talk of a sale first started in October 2017 when SkyCity announced a new “asset-lighter” business strategy. The move came after the company’s 2016/2017 financial report showed a 69 percent fall in profit thanks, in part, to a $95 million write-down on the value of SkyCity Darwin.
Looking to redress the balance, SkyCity instructed Goldman Sachs to find a suitable buyer back in March 2018. A figure of at least $200 million was agreed and the process of securing a buyer has been ongoing ever since.
Despite the assertion that no deal has been done, sources speaking to The Australian appear confident that a sale is imminent, something that could be reflected in the forthcoming financial report.
Crown Can Continue to Reign Says VCGLR
In other Aussie gambling news this week, Crown Casino has received a seal of approval from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR). Despite a number of issues regarding its pokies, the country’s largest casino has been declared fit to hold a Victorian gaming licence.
The news comes following the publication of the VCGLR’s sixth review of Crown’s business practices.
“The Sixth Review found that Crown Melbourne Ltd is suitable to hold the casino licence and is generally compliant with relevant requirements, however, it has made a number of recommendations for improvement,” reads the August report published on August 6.
Reading through the list of recommendations, the recurring theme is player protection and social responsibility. Crown made the headlines in July after a whistle-blower provided evidence to the media that the casino was turbo-charging its pokies.
Through a combination of licence exemptions and internal policies, it’s alleged Crown was pushing players to play the high-speed games. As a result, the potential loss rate for a patron was significantly increased.
Taking into account these accusations and the recent issue involving the removal of betting options from certain pokies, the VCGLR wants more protections to be put in place.
“Recommendation 14: The VCGLR recommends that, by 1 July 2019, Crown Melbourne develop and implement a responsible gambling strategy focusing on the minimisation of gambling related harm to persons attending the casino,” the report says.