James Packer's Sydney casino given amber light

The first application stage of James Packer’s planned $1 billion casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo development has been signed off by Premier Barry O’Farrell.

O’Farrell announced the proposal had moved to the second stage of government consideration.

“The proposal has undergone an initial assessment – signed off by the heads of the Department of Premiere and Cabinet and The Treasury – which concluded it should now be the subject of rigorous financial appraisal to see if it’s in the state’s best interests,” O’Farrell says.

He says the move to stage two does not guarantee the future of the development, it just means the government is now working with Crown to assess the proposal.

He says they would have to honour their exclusivity agreement with The Star Casino, which means Packer’s development would not be operational before November 14, 2019.

Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie says Crown welcomes the move to stage 2.

“The announcement by the NSW government to progress Crown’s Proposal from stage 1 to stage 2 is a major step forward for this exciting project,” Craigie says.

“No other organisation can deliver this unique project at Baranagaroo. Crown’s record demonstrates that it can provide a centrepiece for Sydney that will draw millions of visitors and employ around 2,000 people in construction and operation. A six-star hotel report on the waterfront at Baranagaroo will assist Sydney to compete with the best cities in the world for international tourists and for major conferences and events.”

Given O’Farrell’s insistence the project not involve poker machines, the development will focus on high-rolling VIP gaming.

“Crown is proposing that VIP gaming would only be available for international high rollers, mainly from Asia together with interstate and local VIP players on an invitation-only basis.”

The $1 billion six-star project will have 350 hotel rooms, restaurants, spas and pools, and dedicated training colleges.

It will be designed via an international architecture competition.

It is expected to contribute $400 million annually to the state economy as well as additional gaming tax revenue.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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