Delaware North Acquires SkyCity Darwin Casino

Global hospitality and gaming company Delaware North completed its purchase of SkyCity Darwin this week. Delaware North paid $188 million to buy SkyCity Darwin. One executive said the new owners plan to refresh the gaming content at the casino, including its pokies row.

The company announced the deal in November 2018, but required several months for regulatory approval. The Northern Territory Government approved the deal last month, allowing the U.S. company to buy the SkyCity Casino in Darwin. The casino opened as Don Casino in 1979, but the site changed its names six times over the years.

SkyCity Entertainment Group, a New Zealand company which owns SkyCity Adelaide Casino, bought the property in 2004. SkyCity Entertainment announced plans for a new resort in Queenstown, New Zealand, so the Kiwi group continues to focus attention on its home country.

Delaware North is a US gaming company with generations in the business and a massive portfolio of assets in other industries. It has the resources to turn SkyCity Darwin into a top local spot. Despite its profile, Delaware North is a family-owned company with a personal touch.

Mindil Beach Casino & Resort

Delaware North renamed the Darwin casino “Mindil Beach Casino & Resort.” The property called itself Mindel Casino from 1983 to 1985. The new name hearkens back to a time when a joint venture of Aspinall Holdings (UK) and Great Bay Casino Corp (USA: Sands Atlantic City) owned the casino.

Also, the new owners plan to change the signage on the casino and resort immediately. Customers should notice the Mindil Beach workers use new uniforms, vehicles, and casino equipment branded with the new name. Delaware North plans a new resort marketing and promotions campaign immediately.

Gary Brown on SkyCity Darwin Purchase

Gary Brown, Delaware North’s Managing Director, said the purchase of SkyCity Darwin Resort marks an important milestone in the company’s history. The purchase marks Delaware North’s entry into the Australian gaming market, which diversifies the company’s casino holdings. Brown characterized Australia as one of the most stable gaming jurisdictions in the world.

Mr. Brown told local Darwin media, “We see Mindil Beach Casino & Resort as having the potential to be Darwin’s premier entertainment venue.”

He added that the chance to turn the casino into a top regional resort “is what appealed to us most about pursuing the opportunity to add it to our portfolio of gaming and hospitality venues in the region.”

While praising Mindil Beach Casino’s past record, Gary Brown added that the owners plan to add more gaming tables and pokies to resort. Brown said, “Our team is exploring steps we can take to enhance what is already a terrific operation, such as infusing the international experience of Delaware North’s culinary team to enhance dining experiences throughout the resort, along with property-wide improvements to broaden appeal to new local, interstate and international guests.”

About Delaware North

Delaware North is an institution in Buffalo, New York. The Jacobs Family has owned Delaware North since its creation in 1915. They remain a fixture in the American northeast business community. It owns an NHL franchise, serves food at MLB games, and nearly bought an NFL franchise at one point.

The Jacobs Brothers originally owned theater concessions. By 1926, Jacobs Brothers branched from the stage plays and live events to the sports sector. The company signed a food services contract with the Detroit Tigers MLB franchise in 1930. In 1939, the Jacobs Brothers bought a horse racing venue and changed its name to Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment.

Jeremy Jacobs and Boston Holdings

Jeremy Jacobs serves as chairman of Delaware North and owns the Boston Bruins hockey team. Louis M. Jacobs, the founder of the company, died in 1968. Since then, his sons jointly run the company to this day.

Jerry and Louis M. Jacobs serve as co-chief executive officers. Meanwhile, Charlie Jacobs serves as CEO of the company’s Boston holdings. The company’s Boston holdings include TD Garden, the home of the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins.

Delaware North owns assets in the travel hospitality, parks, gaming, entertainment, sports, and food services sectors. The company generates US$3.3 billion a year in revenues, while it employs 55,000 workers worldwide.

SkyCity Casino Staff Changes?

Gary Brown praised the SkyCity Casino staff and stressed Delaware North’s record of success. The managing director said, “We warmly welcome the Mindil Beach Casino & Resort staff to the broader Delaware North family and look forward to them playing an important role in the venue’s future growth and success.”

“As a family-owned-and-operated company with a successful track record running gaming and resort venues around the world, we recognize the important contribution our staff has made to our success.”

He suggested changes would be made, but workers in good standing could find work elsewhere in Delaware North’s vast network. Brown said, “If there are opportunities for team members to gain experience working at any of our other venues, we’re more than happy to explore them.”