SA Government Calls for Tenders on Adelaide Casino Renovation

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
South Australia Government

SkyCity CasinoAfter approving a redevelopment proposal valued at more than $900 million this January – which would fund upgrades and renovations to the Adelaide Festival Plaza and Skycity’s Adelaide Casino – the South Australian Government has issued a call for tenders on the first phases of the massive improvement project.

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The full scale of the renovation proposal, which was put forth by developer Lang Walker, is aimed at modernizing the Festival Plaza area of Adelaide’s Riverbank Precinct. As Premier James Weatherill explained to Adelaide’s The Advertiser newspaper during an interview in late May, the project was designed to provide comprehensive upgrades to the entire Festival Plaza region:

“The Festival Plaza will become a landmark site in the heart of Adelaide’s Riverbank Precinct, bringing together all of the precinct’s icon sites such as the Adelaide Oval, the Festival Centre, the Convention Centre and the Riverbank Bridge.

“The upgraded Festival Plaza will become a unique world-class hub for the arts, culture, tourism and entertainment. It will be defined by a number of key places including the new square, the northern promenade, integration with King William St, the Art Space Plaza, a reimagining of Station Road and a new entry to Adelaide Railway Station.”

Construction on these projects is estimated to cost $430 million, and the South Australian Government has secured financing with two private investment groups.

In May, New Zealand-based casino operator Skycity Entertainment Group revealed a successful round of capital fundraising which netted $243 million in funds, which will be put towards the $300 million cost of expanding the corporation’s Adelaide Casino.

Improvements slated for Adelaide Casino under the plan include construction of an 80-room luxury hotel along the city’s famed Riverbank, which will overlook the River Torrens, along with new restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment venues.

The casino will also benefit from expansion and renovation of its premium gaming areas, as well as construction of gaming suites specially designed to cater to international VIP gamblers.

For the average patron of Adelaide Casino, the renovation package will also make room for the addition of 500 new poker machines and 110 new gaming tables.

Speaking to InDaily, an independent news source based in Adelaide, in November of last year, former Skycity chief executive officer Nigel Morrison spoke of the casino’s intention to court higher-end clientele through the proposed redesign:

“Our Adelaide Casino development will help South Australia attract a greater share of high-value international visitors, particularly from China and South-East Asia.”

Morrison later resigned as CEO of Skycity, following an apologetic speech to shareholder’s at the company’s annual general meeting, during which he attributed Adelaide Casino’s poor financial performance to the current condition of buildings, lack of carpark access, and other issues meant to be resolved by the upcoming renovations.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin during the second half of the current calendar year, although no exact dates have been determined as of yet. In late May, Skycity received permission to prepare the grounds for construction, and to issue a call for tenders, signaling that progress will commence sooner rather than later.

Interim CEO John Mortensen confirmed the approval’s importance to the New Zealand Herald, telling the newspaper that work will be underway within the year:

“We’re delighted that we’ve got agreement on the first phase of work on what will be an amazing rejuvenation of the Riverbank Precinct. SkyCity’s Adelaide Casino expansion will bring high-net-worth visitors to South Australia, providing a significant boost to the tourism industry.”

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