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Delaware North sets it sights on Darwin’s SkyCity Casino

Thu, Nov 1, 12:32pm by Staff Writer

Global food service and hospitality company Delaware North is setting its sights on Australia, with plans to purchased Darwin’s SkyCity Casino.

It is part of a broader strategy from the American-based company to bolster its operations in the Asia-Pacific.

Darwin’s SkyCity is one of two casinos that the organisation is looking to add to its portfolio, with Vanuatu’s Grand Hotel, regarded as the island’s premier hotel and casino being the other.

Delaware North expanding operations in Australia

Delaware North is not unfamiliar with doing business in Australia, buying two Brisbane pubs for more than $30 million in early 2018.

The company owns and operates gaming and entertainment venues in New York, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Arkansas and Arizona.

It is one of at least four businesses looking to purchase Darwin’s casino are undertaking site visits and meeting for senior government officials in August this year.

The casino is said to be worth between $210 and $250 million dollars, but lost $90 million to its valuation recently.

Delaware North is expected to face stiff competition from the Colonial Leisure Group, operators of the Ville Casino in Townsville, as well as a Melbourne property group and unnamed Asian buyer.

SkyCity Darwin revenues have failed to grow

SkyCity Darwin enlisted the help of investment banking company Goldman Sachs to gauge interest in a possible sale of the casino in March.

The casino has been under increased pressure in recent times due to regulatory changes in 2013, with gaming revenue flat lining in the final quarter of 2017.

SkyCity has Darwin monopoly for nearly two more decades

SkyCity has exclusive rights to operate a casino in Darwin until 2036 and accounts for 12 per cent of the New Zealand-based company’s revenue and eight per cent of its normalised earnings in the 2016-17 financial year.

SkyCity Darwin opened in 1983 and is the only casino in the capital of the Northern Territory.

It features 117 guest rooms; over 600 gaming machines and operates 24 hours, 7 days a week.

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