Gavin King

TropicNow editor

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Does this spell the end for Aquis in Cairns?

Things don't look great for the future of Aquis in the Tropical North with news that Ken Chapman has resigned as a director and the company's sponsorship of FNQ Heat is over.


Aquis has cut ties with two key Cairns connections in further signs it has all but abandoned its long-running ambition to build an integrated resort at Yorkey's Knob.

Local tourism identity Ken Chapman has stepped down from the Aquis board, according to a recent announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

TropicNow has also confirmed that Aquis will not be renewing its naming rights sponsorship deal with local football club FNQ Heat.

Dr Chapman's resignation was sparked by the Aquis group's decision to withdraw from the casino licensing process for its Yorkey's Knob project back in April.

He was first appointed as an Independent Non-Executive Director of Aquis Entertainment - the listed entity operating the Canberra Casino - in August 2015.

In an ASX statement, Aquis Entertainment CEO Jessica Mellor said:

"The board of Aquis Entertainment advises that Dr Ken Chapman has stepped down as a Director of the company, following the broader Aquis group's decision to remove itself from the casino licensing process for its development at Yorkey's Knob in North Queensland.

"The board of Aquis Entertainment Limited expresses its appreciation of Dr Chapman's contribution during his tenure and wishes him well for the future."

Dr Chapman declined to comment on the matter when contacted by TropicNow.

FNQ Heat chair Rob Giason said the club was now negotiating with potential naming rights sponsors following the Aquis decision not to renew its sponsorship.

"We’re very appreciative of the amazing support from Aquis over the past three years, and we'll keep the dialogue open with them in the event there may be other opportunities in the future," Mr Giason said.

"We are in talks with other potential naming rights sponsors and look forward to making announcements on that in the future."

In its latest Casino Canberra trading update to the ASX, Aquis Entertainment attributed a 10.8 percent drop in revenue to volatility in the VIP gaming market.

"Business activity levels at the Company's Casino Canberra property remained strong during October in line with expectations post-reopening of the casino in June.

"High activity level did not translate into increased revenue with gross gaming revenue for October of $2,145,120 (being) 10.8 percent below the September result of $2,403,877 due to volatility in VIP play.

"The result was also 10.8 percent below October 2015 revenue of $2,404,974 which benefited from a hold rate anomaly, significantly higher than the long term average."

TropicNow is currently seeking comment from Aquis.