14 Nov 2011

Building of Sky City convention centre should start by 2012

6:06 am on 14 November 2011

Sky City Entertainment Group says it could start building a $350 million national convention centre by the end of next year.

The Casino and hotel operator was named as the preferred bidder for the 3500 seat centre in Auckland in return for an extension to its casino license beyond 2021 and being allowed more gaming tables and machines.

Chief executive Nigel Morrison says the company hopes to finish negotiating with the Government by early next year.

He says it's a major project and there are lots of discussions about the size, design and style of the convention centre, as well as how the processes work between the parties.

Mr Morrison says he would be surprised if much construction work took place before the end of next year.

Work on another major project for Sky City Entertainment, a $330 million expansion to its Adelaide casino, could also start in a year.

Mr Morrison says the company hopes the South Australian government will ease the rules around gambling by the end of the year, so it can finalise its plans.

He says there have been some changes in the political leadership of the Labor government in South Australia.

Mr Morrison says by mid next year the company hopes to be able to do some serious designing and capital expenditure plans about what changes would be made to the Adelaide casino.

If the projects don't go ahead, he says the funds could be returned to shareholders.