Aquis Entertainment owner Tony Fung has retired as Chairman and non-executive director, citing a need for the board to be independent given regulatory challenges facing the industry in Australia.
With increasing scrutiny on casinos nationwide following recent inquiries into Crown Resorts in NSW and Victoria, Aquis said Fungs retirement comes at a time when the industry is facing competing interests in making profit versus responsible gambling management, anti-money laundering and responsible management to justify retention of the social license to retain a gaming license.
Fung will remain majority shareholder and lender to Aquis but said, It is not hard to see how my familys interest as a financial lender and majority shareholder to the casino business may be a conflict of interest in relation to the priority of non-profit factors.
As such, I feel that it is appropriate to step back and ensure the company receives stewardship by an independent board.
Independent non-executive director Russell Shields will step in as interim chairman pending a formal offer to assume the role permanently in the coming weeks.
Aquis acquired Casino Canberra in 2014 and has been in ongoing discussions with the ACT Government regarding a proposal to spend AU$307 million to transform the property and surrounding areas into a comprehensive entertainment district.