Darwin’s SkyCity Casino and resort has been sold to American company Delaware North for $188 million.
- The deal excludes the beachfront Little Mindil site, which it will sell separately
- The deal still requires approval from the NT Attorney-General
- SkyCity Entertainment Group has owned the casino for 14 years
SkyCity Entertainment confirmed it had signed an agreement to sell the Darwin business it has owned for 14 years to the New York-based company.
The purchase agreement is subject to the approval of the Northern Territory Attorney-General, Natasha Fyles.
The deal excludes the beachfront Little Mindil site which it will sell separately.
Earlier this year the Australian Financial Review reported the casino complex could be worth between $200 and $250 million.
New Zealand company SkyCity Entertainment is believed to have paid $195 million for the complex in 2004.
Yet SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said the sale “is a good outcome for SkyCity, the resort’s staff, and the city of Darwin”.
He said while the resort has been performing better financially over the past 12 months, SkyCity’s future strategy had the company looking closer to its New Zealand home base and its expanding casino facilities in Adelaide.
“I’m really pleased that following a very competitive tender process, Delaware North has emerged as the successful bidder,” he said.
“They are a highly respected and well-established hospitality and gaming company and I’m very comfortable handing over the business we have built up over the past 14 years to an operator of this calibre.”
He said all the company’s 650 staff will be retained once the change of ownership takes effect.
SkyCity’s association with Darwin will continue for some time, through the ongoing use of the casino’s VIP facilities for at least the next two years, subject to availability.
The company also retains the rights to operate an online casino in partnership with Delaware North, should a licence be granted in the future.
It will also continue to own the beachfront Little Mindil site and will run a separate process to sell the site.
With the sale of the Darwin casino still contingent on the new owner gaining regulatory approvals in the Northern Territory, SkyCity will continue running the business until regulatory approval is received.
The deal would include 600 electronic gaming machines, more than 30 table games, four restaurants, five bars, a beachfront resort, VIP super villas with gaming suites, a day spa and a variety of conference spaces.
The 152-room hotel and resort is Darwin’s only with a five-star rating.
Delaware North already has significant interests throughout Australia, including Lizard Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef.
It provides the food services at a range of venues and events, including the Darwin Airport, the Australian Open tennis tournament, the Sydney Cricket Ground and Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.
Its US interests include 12 casinos.
Co-chief executive officer Lou Jacobs said Australia has been Delaware North’s second home for 30 years.
“We are thrilled to have grown our business into a diversity of operations across the country, which has been possible because of our incredibly talented and diverse workforce of more than 10,000 people,” he said.
“With SkyCity Darwin, we are expanding our presence in the gaming and entertainment market.
“We look forward to working with SkyCity Entertainment Group to welcome their employees at SkyCity Darwin to the Delaware North family.”
SkyCity chief executive officer Graeme Stephens described Delaware North as “the ideal buyer”.
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Topics: gambling, community-and-society, small-business, business-economics-and-finance, darwin-0800
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