Nigel Morrison, group chi' />
About $1 billion is earmarked for two major South Australian venues near SkyCity Entertainment Group's Adelaide casino.
Nigel Morrison, group chief executive, said he was heartened by announcements of expansion in the area which he said would see about A$500 million ($680 million) spent on the Adelaide Oval and more than A$300 million spent on the Adelaide Convention Centre.
That spurred SkyCity's plans for a A$250 million casino upgrade, announced last August.
"It's fantastic for South Australia but also good for SkyCity," Morrison said this week of the oval and centre expansion plans.
But his address to the 12th annual Macquarie Australia Conference on Friday was less upbeat. Morrison told of problems, dubbing Adelaide a "temporary casino". He complained of its limited gaming footprint and small range of non-gaming attractions. The casino was in a heritage-listed building with a "sub-optimal layout" and minimal parking, he revealed.
Adelaide had Australasia's tightest gaming regulatory framework and significant restrictions which included the highest rate of gaming tax.
SkyCity would make "no investment decision until [it was] clear where federal regulation is going", Morrison told the conference where about 700 institutional investors gathered. SkyCity wanted a level regulatory playing field.
The casino area is to become a new focus for Adelaide in a Riverfront Precinct makeover.
The oval will be a multi-sport venue after South Australian Cricket Association members voted in favour of a proposal to amend their constitution to allow a joint venture with the South Australian National Football League and for the redevelopment.
The convention centre is earmarked for a A$394 million overhaul, ready for 2015, including a new showroom for bigger events and conversion of the River Torrens banks into an entertainment strip.
The cricket association recently announced that 10,078 (80.3 per cent) members voted in favour of changes and 2461 (19.63 per cent) members voted against it. Ian McLachlan, association president, said the oval redevelopment would put his organisation in a much stronger financial position and deliver world-class spectator facilities while protecting the venue's unique heritage. "The redeveloped oval will draw large crowds to the city on a regular basis throughout the year, creating opportunities for hotels, restaurants, bars and shops in the CBD. It will enable Adelaide to compete more effectively with other interstate and international venues to attract major events, whether sporting or cultural," McLachlan said.
Adelaide Now reported this month that SkyCity was being urged to proceed with its casino redevelopment on the Torrens riverfront to kickstart the city's Riverbank Precinct and Advantage Adelaide chief executive Nikki Seymour-Smith said the oval approval should catalyse SkyCity's next step.
"Many of us thought since the oval had been given the tick that would mean the casino redevelopment would be on its way. Where there are technical difficulties or regulatory procedures they need to overcome, that is a matter for them, but I think the proposal they shared with us is vital for that precinct. It would be a terrible disappointment if that development did not go ahead," she told Adelaide Now.
SkyCity has previously raised concern about the level of state government taxes and regulation applying to its Adelaide operations and said there would be no investment decision on the casino redevelopment until it was clear where federal mandatory pre-commitment laws for poker machines were headed, Adelaide Now reported.
* A $135m annual revenue.
* 1040 employees.
* On Torrens River.
* A $250m expansion plan.