If you have a few extra dollars in your wallet, there’s a great deal on a few gaming pubs and a casino available. The Zagame family out of Melbourne, Australia, has decided to sell all of its gaming operations, including the Grand Hotel and Casino resort that it owns in Vanuatu. Everything must go, and the asking price is just US$223 million.
All of the businesses are owned by Robert and Victor Zagame, son of Victor Zagame, Sr. The elder Victor started the company in 1971 with the Albion Charles Hotel in Northcote and passed away in October at the age of 77. Currently, the family owns the Reservoir Hotel, Boronia Hotel, Caufield Club, Ballarat Club and the Berwich Springs Hotel, Victoria’s fourth-ranked gambling venue. Together, they pull in around US$70 million and offer 480 gaming machines.
The Grand Hotel, which overlooks the Port Vila Harbor, was first put up for sale in April 2017. At the time, it was expected to sell for around US$18.6 million, but couldn’t find a new owner. The resort offers 15 gaming tables, a VIP top-floor gaming room, 136 slot machines, four bars, a spa and conference rooms.
The younger Victor Zagame was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald saying, “Our venues are exceptionally well presented, our staff are leaders in the industry, and our product is second to none. These successful businesses are well placed to continue to deliver substantial growth.” Indeed, the company has grown very well over the past 50 years and has received several awards in recent times, including Best Gaming Venue (Boronia, 2015), Overall Hotel of the Year (Berwick, 2016) and Best Hotel Group Operation in 2016.
Australia’s real estate giant, CBRE, has been appointed to market the pubs in conjunction with Cropley Commercial. CBRE’s national director, Mark Wizel, indicated that the operations could be sold individually or as a group. He said of the different outfits, “They’ve been hand-picked, developed in some instances by the family, and run really well.”
One possible suitor is Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH), Australia’s largest gaming machine operator. It is majority owned by Woolworths and Bruce Mathieson. Mathieson owns 25% of ALH and Woolworths owns the other 75%. Mathieson is on the Forbes list of Australia’s most wealthy businessmen, coming in this year at number 42, up eight spots from his ranking in 2017.
The sale comes at a time of extensive gambling crackdowns in the country. In 2017, Victoria’s government froze the number of gaming machines to its current level until 2042. At the same time, however, it extended gaming licenses from 10 to 20 years. There will be a limit of 27,372 gaming machines in the state that are run by pubs and community clubs, and an additional 2,500 machines operated by Crown Casino.