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Name change for Darwin casino

Mon, Apr 15, 1:45pm by Staff Writer

SkyCity Darwin is reverting back to a name it held in the mid 1980s, with the casino soon to be called the Mindil Beach Casino, Casino Aus reports.

In its 40 years of existence, one casino in the Northern Territory has been through many changes, including many names.

When it first opened in 1979, the casino was known as Don Casino and it was the second casino to ever open in Australia.

It then became the Mindil Beach Casino for the first time in 1983, when the government acquired it by force.

Greate Bay Casino and Aspinall holdings were to operate the venue.

Two years later, Aspinall bought out Greate Bay Casino’s interest in the property for $1 million and the government’s interest for $5 million. The property then became the Diamond Beach Hotel and Casino.

That name was short-lived however, with MGM Grand buying the complex for $75 million in 1995 and renaming it the MGM Grand Darwin. The name stood for nine years.

In 2004, New Zealand based SkyCity Entertainment Group bought the venue for $195 million and renamed it SkyCity Darwin.

It remained under this ownership for the longest period since its launch as a casino.

In an era of rapid gambling business sales and merges, it was only a matter of time until that changed.

In November 2018, Delaware North bought the property for $188 million and in April 2019, it officially became known as Mindil Beach Casino & Resort.

Sale confirmed earlier this month

SkyCity confirmed earlier this month the sale of its Darwin casino to US-based global hospitality operator Delaware North in a statement made by chief executive officer Graeme Stephens.

“We are pleased that the sale of SkyCity Darwin is now unconditional. The sale is consistent with our strategy to sell certain non-core assets and to allocate capital to assets and businesses which we feel are better aligned with our long-term strategic objectives,” Mr Stephens said.

The Hotel Conversation detailed the key terms of the sale are that the sale price of A$188 million is for 100 per cent shares in SkyCity Darwin Pty Limited.

The Little Mindil property located adjacent to the SkyCity Darwin site, has been retained by SkyCity and is to be sold separately. It is valued at A$11 million.

“Following completion of the transaction, SkyCity will provide certain agreed transitional services to Delaware North,” Mr Stephens said.

“Completion of the sale is expected to occur on April 4, 2019.”

SkyCity run its race in Darwin

In a previous statement made in November 2018, Mr Stephens said that the sale is a good outcome for SkyCity, the resort’s staff and the city of Darwin.

“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.”

Mr Stephens says while the resort has been performing better from a financial point of view during 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.

“Selling was not an easy decision. We’re proud of our contribution to Darwin and the Northern Territory over the past 14 years.”

“Since we purchased the business in 2014, we’ve developed Darwin’s casino into an integrated entertainment destination, refurbishing the resort, adding new restaurants, bars and VIP facilities, a new 5-star resort hotel and supporting various community events.”

“So now feels like the right time to hand the baton across to a new owner to continue the next stage in Darwin casino’s journey,” Mr Stephens said.

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