Leading New Zealand casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group is about to embark on a significant redevelopment of the casino it owns and runs in Adelaide, one of the company’s two Australian ventures.
SkyCity, who also own and run four of New Zealand’s six casinos, has recently signed a new deal which will pave the way for a NZD$400 million redevelopment of the Adelaide site and surrounds.
Having recently signed a deal with the South Australian state government, the way is set for a complete overhaul of the venue, as part of the redevelopment of the riverside precinct adjacent to the River Torrens. This new development is part of the regeneration of the area triggered by the move of AFL football to Adelaide Oval in 2014.
As a condition for approval of the deal, SkyCity will be liable for a higher tax rate, which will see its tax bill rise to around NZD$45.5 million by 2020, and the company will also be required to contribute to the funding of gambling rehabilitation programmes in the state.
The redevelopment will begin shortly, the first step being a $45 million refurbishment of the heritage-listed former railway station to include new high roller gaming areas and the installation of upgraded gaming equipment and technology.
According to SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison, the casino is hoping to “capture and attract high rolling Asian clientele,” as well as wealthy players from interstate, and in so doing it is attempting to establish a similar sort of upmarket client base as it currently has at its flagship Auckland casino. It is aiming “to transform Adelaide Casino into a world class integrated entertainment and tourism complex,” said Morrison.
It is also expected that the expansion will double the number of people employed by the company in Adelaide, which currently stands at about 1,000.
The new agreement means that SkyCity will be able introduce another 500 pokies and 110 gaming tables into the casino. In addition, the new deal means that other casinos are prevented from opening in the city until 2035.
The South Australian government has supported the expansion in the hope that high-rollers will be tempted out of the confines of the casino into Adelaide’s myriad of restaurants and bars, thus providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.