Casino Canberra has posted a yearly profit for the first time since 2014, despite COVID-19 restrictions forcing the venue into hibernation for months.
JobKeeper payments and a more aggressive focus on individual customers contributed to the vastly improved bottom line.
Aquis Entertainment, which owns the casino, increased its profit by 120 per cent to almost $800,000 in 2020, despite revenue dropping by 24 per cent.
It marked a significant turnaround for the company from 2019 when it lost almost $4 million, despite being forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions from March 23 to August 9.
The casino attributed some of its successes to its pursuit of individual customers allowing it to make a profit off its VIP customers.
Its yearly financial statements said business managers had been focused on mining the customer database, which had grown in recent years.
"Customised offers to individual members have proved very successful in maximising revenues while minimising costs, as all expenditure has been effective," director Allison Gallaugher said in the statements.
The casino's finances were helped by JobKeeper payments, which it stopped receiving in January this year, and a refund of the annual casino licence fee from the ACT government.
It was also able to axe key roles after resignations and created "efficiencies" through internal restructures, managing an effective hibernation through its forced shutdown.
The company's cash reserves were boosted by more than $2 million over the year.
The casino was able to leverage its large size and room floor layouts when it was allowed to reopen in August.
Restrictions on hospitality venues had typically been enforced on a person per square metre space basis.
Last year was the first time the casino had posted a profit since 2014, when it was $5.5 million in the black.
Ms Gallaugher did not respond to a request for comment.
Aquis Entertainment's share price bolted up by 248 per cent in just one day, prompting the ASX to issue a please explain and briefly pause trading on February 18.
Its share price increased more than 1000 per cent from 4 cents on February 16 to a high of 48 cents on February 25.
The company was not able to provide an explanation in a response to the ASX.
The casino has been in protracted talks with the ACT government about obtaining pokie machines in exchange for undergoing a major redevelopment of the venue.
The financial statements said the discussions were halted due to COVID-19 but the company planned to refocus on the redevelopment plans.
"There are several terms in the legislation which require clarification prior to the company being able to settle any plans," its statement read.
United Workers Union lashed out at the casino last year, accusing it of misusing JobKeeper scheme by bullying staff into taking annual leave while pocketing the payments.
Ms Gallaugher said the company complied with JobKeeper rules in its requests to employees with large leave balances, denying it had bullied staff.
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