Casino defies downturn

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Queenstown’s SkyCity Casino is back in the black. 

The operation’s bottom line climbed to $1 million for the June 30 year. 

That compares with $700,000 in 2010, publicly-listed SkyCity Entertain-ment Group says in its annual report. 

The $1m is before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – and going by the small print in the annual report, after deducting these costs the Queenstown casino has made a net profit of $500,000 after virtually only breaking even last year. 

The 11-year-old Beach Street casino is a joint venture between SkyCity with 60 per cent and local conglomerate Skyline with 40 per cent. 

SkyCity puts the improvement down to a $300,000 lift in win revenues – particularly in table games such as blackjack and roulette – which went straight to the bottom line. 

There was also a “higher spend per player” in the second half of the financial year. 

The Queenstown gaming centre also benefited from “some player transfer in March/May”. 

This was due to the temporary closure of Christchurch Casino, SkyCity adds. Christchurch Casino is owned 50-50 by SkyCity and Skyline. 

The Garden City casino didn’t sustain significant damage, SkyCity’s annual report says. 

But its three-month closure “was mainly due to the property being inside the restricted cordon and as a result trading has not yet returned to historical levels”. 

SkyCity has written down its investment in Christchurch by $15m to $74m. 

SkyCity’s Queenstown rival Lasseters Wharf Casino almost broke even in its 2010 financial year. 

This followed cumulative losses of $6.4m since the Singaporean company bought it in 2006.