In Australia and the deal that would see Blue Whale Entertainment Proprietary Limited acquire a 86.99% stake in the casino-operating arm of Aquis Entertainment Limited is reportedly in danger of being terminated due to regulator lethargy.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the pair inked the $22 million proposition in December of 2018 and had hoped to have fully completed the transaction soon after it was unanimously sanctioned by Aquis Entertainment Limited’s shareholders in March.
However, this transaction is reportedly still awaiting the endorsement of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Gambling and Racing Commission and as a result has not yet received any of the required regulatory approvals.
Aquis Entertainment Limited was purchased by Hong Kong-based businessman Tong Fung Wing-Cheung (pictured) for approximately $4.1 million in late-2014 and is responsible through its Aquis Canberra Holdings (Australia) Proprietary Limited subordinate for the Casino Canberra property. The Sydney-listed firm subsequently detailed that it was hoping to launch a $226 million redevelopment plan that was to have seen its sole casino in Australia add hotels, shops and restaurants as well as up to 200 slots and 60 fully-automated gaming tables.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that the original agreement between Aquis and Blue Whale includes a provision that allows either party to pull out on ten days’ notice should all regulatory approvals not be received in advance of a December 22, 2019, deadline. As this date has now passed, the former firm purportedly used an official filing (pdf) to proclaim that it was working to secure ‘an extension to such termination date’ so as to give the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission ‘sufficient time’ to finish its review and issue the appropriate regulatory approvals.
Read the filing from Aquis…
“Aquis Entertainment Limited and Blue Whale Entertainment Proprietary Limited have been engaging with the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission in relation to the necessary gaming regulatory approvals. Aquis Entertainment Limited believes the Commission’s review is advanced but is not yet complete. If an extension cannot be agreed, Aquis Entertainment Limited and Aquis Canberra Holdings (Australia) Proprietary Limited will consider options for termination of the transaction agreements.”