Iris Capital to spend $70m on doubling size of Lasseters Hotel at Alice Springs

Iris Capital will invest $70m into Lasseters Casino in Alice Springs. Chief Minister Michael Gunner, Iris Capital chief executive Sam Arnaout.

Rising pub magnate Sam Arnaout is splurging $70m on his Alice Springs casino in a bid to attract more international visitors to the Northern Territory’s second-largest town.

Mr Arnaout, one of 29 newcomers to make a debut on The Australian’s 250 rich list, is set to make the big investment just six months after he acquired Lasseters Hotel Casino for $105m.

His Sydney-based company Iris Capital, one of Australia’s largest privately owned property and hospitality groups, picked up the Alice Springs asset from Singapore-listed group Lasseters International Holdings in October, 2021, after a several-month acquisition process signed off by the NT government.

The asset, which shot to fame in the 1994 Australian feature film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, is a 4.5-star hotel resort with 205 rooms operated by the InterContinental Hotel Group.

Over a five-year project, the casino will be expanded with another 230 rooms, more than doubling the current offering.

Iris Capital will add 230 rooms to Lasseters Hotel Casino in the redevelopment.

Mr Arnaout, who owns more than 30 pubs and 20 hotels, said Alice Springs deserved world-class facilities and that he was excited that Lasseters would be able to offer that.

“Iris Capital is excited about the opportunity to revitalise Lasseters by transforming it into the international-standard offering which Alice Springs deserves,” he said.

“The significant upgrade will complement other exciting initiatives in Alice Springs, including the forthcoming National Aboriginal Art Gallery.”

The redevelopment is expected to deliver a significant boost to the local economy,

“The jobs that will be created during and after construction, together with the increased influx of tourists that the integrated resort, casino and convention centre will attract, reinforces Lasseters as the economic engine for Australia’s inland capital.” Mr Arnaout said.


Sam Arnaout behind the taps of one of his pubs. Picture: AAP/Adam Yip

“We would like to thank the Northern Territory government for its collaborative and pragmatic approach which has facilitated this significant investment. It is a pleasure to work with talented and passionate people who clearly want the very best for Alice Springs.”

Last week NT Chief Minister Michaell Gunner welcomed the investment and the chance to improve the local tourism offering.