Queenstown’s Wharf Casino has folded its cards.

Local SkyCity boss Jono Browne confirms the company’s subsidiary, Otago Casinos Ltd (OCL), which has the casino venue licence, exited its Steamer Wharf lease a couple of weeks ago.

The licence, due to expire on September 11, isn’t being renewed.

‘‘With the casino licences in New Zealand, you cannot relocate them, they cannot be reallocated anywhere else in the country, or anywhere else in the town,’’ Browne says.

The smaller of the two Queenstown casinos hasn’t actually traded since New Zealand went into its first lockdown, on March 25, 2020, and Browne says they’ve since decided to focus on their main one, on Beach St.

Both CBD casinos opened in 1999, following a fair amount of controversy, while SkyCity bought Wharf Casino from Singapore-based Lasseters in 2013, but at times has struggled to run it profitably.

In January, 2020, Mountain Scene revealed the Wharf Casino’s landlord wasn’t keen on renewing the Steamer Wharf lease past September, 2021, unless OCL made a significant capital investment in the venue which, at that time, wasn’t deemed commercially viable.

Browne says, till it was closed, the casino still had a full offering.

‘‘It was a challenging property to run … there’s no hiding that.

‘‘The main property’s got a full offering with food and beverage, we can do events there and we’ve still got good product there, and we didn’t have all of those capabilities down at the wharf.

‘‘It just made sense to concentrate on the one property.’’

Of the property, though, Browne says it’s ‘‘one of the best locations in Queenstown’’.

‘‘I’m sure the landlords will make the best use of it.’’

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