SkyCity buys Wharf Casino

Nigel Morrison
Nigel Morrison
SkyCity Entertainment Group has further increased its interest in Queenstown, buying Otago Casinos Ltd, which holds the licence for Wharf Casino.

SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison said the company had acquired the casino for $5 million, subject to regulatory approval from the Commerce and Gambling commissions.

The casino is located in the Steamer Wharf complex on the Queenstown waterfront.

Its licence allows for a maximum of 74 electronic gaming machines and six gaming tables.

The Companies Office showed Otago Casinos Ltd was 100% owned by Lasseters (NZ) Ltd and was formed in February 1997.

Financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2012, showed it had total revenue of $3,178,403, comprising gaming revenue of about $2.08 million and bar revenue of about $1.1 million, but made a loss of $412,346. It spent $2,979,432 in ''other expenses'', which included $1,578,625 in staff salaries and wages and $375,063 in the rental and operating lease cost.

Its financial report said its ability to operate as a going concern depended on its ability to raise additional funds from shareholders or external sources. Mr Morrison said buying the casino was part of SkyCity's ''strategy of increasing ourpresence in Queenstown''.

Late last year, the company assumed full ownership of SkyCity Queenstown Casino and it is part of a consortium that is the preferred group to build the proposed Queenstown Convention Centre.

''SkyCity sees Queenstown as an area of significant potential for continued tourism development and as one of New Zealand's leading tourism operators, we are very interested in the region,'' Mr Morrison said.

''We are looking forward to developing our business in this iconic region of New Zealand and contributing further to the Queenstown community.''

Last week, SkyCity Entertainment Group announced it had signed a heads of agreement with the Government to design, build and operate the New Zealand International Convention Centre.

Under the agreement, SkyCity will commit $315 million to build the centre and fit it out, and contribute the 14,000sq m site in the Auckland CBD, valued at $87 million.

In return, the Government extended the Auckland Casino venue licence to 2048 and agreed to a package of regulatory reforms.