US giant among suitors for Darwin’s SkyCity casino

SkyCity Darwin is set to be sold.
SkyCity Darwin is set to be sold.

US hospitality giant Delaware North has been linked to two major gaming properties — Vanuatu’s Grand Hotel & Casino and the SkyCity Darwin casino — as it looks to bolster its regional ­operations.

Delaware North is looking to pick up the Grand Hotel & ­Casino, regarded as Vanuatu’s premier hotel and casino, out of a portfolio offered by Melbourne-based hotels dynasty the Zagame family.

The four-star property includes a VIP room and 74 luxury accommodation rooms, with a possible price tag of more than $70 million.

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The eight-level waterfront development offers a variety of income streams generated from its 16 table games, 136 gaming machines, accommodation and food and beverage facilities.

The property sits 10km from the airport and Port Vila’s business and entertainment precinct, and could be repositioned by Delaware North. The sale is being handled by CBRE and Cropley Commercial.

Delaware North forged into the nation’s gaming market earlier this year, buying two Brisbane pubs for a total of more than $30 million. The New York-based company picked up the Shafston Hotel in Brisbane’s east and the Aspley Hotel in the city’s northern suburbs.

Delaware North is well known locally for owning the upmarket Lizard Island resort in Queensland, as well as operating food and beverage outlets across Australia.

In the US it owns and operates gaming and entertainment venues in New York, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas and Arizona.

Zagame’s Grand Hotel and Casino in Vanuatu’s Port Vila.

The US group has also been named as a potential buyer for Darwin’s SkyCity casino in a Goldman Sachs-run process.

The company is among at least four suitors undertaking site visits and meeting senior officials of the state government, the NT News said this week.

SkyCity Darwin is worth $210-$250 million even after taking a $90 million valuation hit. A decision on whether to sell is due to be made this month bThis article originally appeared on the Darwin casino’s parent company, SkyCity Entertainment Group.

Delaware North could be well suited to picking up the properties as it operates a $4.05 billion empire across three continents that includes racetracks, casinos and gaming.

The group was up against Colonial Leisure Group, the operators of the Ville Casino in Townsville, in the race for the Darwin property, the NT News said. It also named a Melbourne property group and an Asian potential buyer as in the race.

SkyCity is slated to update the market at its annual results on August 8.

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