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Aquis given one month to progress Canberra redevelopment

The company behind the A$330 million (US$256.4 million) expansion of Casino Canberra has been given one month to finalize its proposal, the Canberra Times reports.

Last week, the ACT government wrote to Hong-Kong based Aquis Entertainment, giving the company until May 14 to progress its bid to rebuild the casino.

The proposed plans for Canberra Casino includes the creation of a one six-star ultra high-end hotel and a 100-suite five-star property extending to six storeys, which is expected to attract almost an extra 750,000 visitors to Canberra a year including high-end Chinese gamblers.

The project also includes new bars, cafes and restaurants and promenade-style shopping possibly featuring luxury brands such as Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, a first for Canberra.

However, Gaming Minister Gordon Ramsay revealed the company had gone cold, after the government changed the ACT's gambling laws to allow the casino to have poker machines, with conditions.

The ACT Legislative Assembly passed a law last year to only allow the casino to operate 200 poker machines and 60 fully-automated table games, limit punters to $2 spins and a install a mandatory pre-commitment scheme.

Ramsay said the government’s support for Aquis operating poker machines hinged in its redevelopment of the casino precinct, but had not yet received "critical information required for the process to move forward."

An Aquis spokesperson said the company was still interested in pursuing the redevelopment.

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