CASINO

Aquis H1 revenue down, CEO resigns

TAGs: Aquis Entertainment, Australia, Jessica Mellor

Australian-listed casino operator Aquis Entertainment Limited has posted revenue of A$12.3 million (US$9 million) for the first half of 2018, down 3.6% from the same period last year.

Aquis H1 revenue down, CEO resignsIn separate filings to the Australian Stock Exchange, the operator of Casino Canberra also announced the resignation of its CEO Jessica Mellor, and that its partnership with Executive Sports and Entertainment Pty Limited (ESE) would not be pushing through.

Of its performance from January to June of this year, the Hong Kong-based company stated that “[a] strong budget has been set for the year, with the expectation of positive EBITDA and cash flows for the full financial year and the half year results achieved have been in line with those targets,” noting that total operating expenses were down by 19.5% from the previous year, to A$14.5 million (US$10.7 million).

Aquis posted a first-half loss of A$2.2 million (US$1.6 million) which was lower than last year’s A$4.2 million (US$3.1 million) loss during the same period.

Mellor, who had been employed by Aquis since 2013, and in the position of CEO since September 2016, was said to be resigning for personal reasons, and will officially leave the company in February 2019. Chairman Tony Fung said of Mellor’s departure, “The company will work to ensure that the transition over the coming months is as seamless as possible, and the positive momentum generated to date is maintained.”

The company had announced last May of a partnership with ESE, but “the parties were unable to reach agreement on the final terms.” They also said that “[n]o financing arrangements relating to the proposed joint venture… have been entered into,” and that they were not pursuing an eSports business at present.

In 2015, Fung had announced that Aquis was undergoing a redevelopment plan, on the assumption of 500 slot machines being approved for use in Casino Canberra. However, the following year, the Australian Capital Territory government did not authorize the casino to operate slot machines, and capped the number of slot machines allowed to 200. Last May, Fung said they were aiming to bring in more VIPs to the casino in order to generate additional revenue.

ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay recently said proposed amendments to the district’s gambling laws were underway, to be submitted before yearend.

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