Packer’s ‘Asian high-roller’ Sydney casino gets state backing

SYDNEY, November 12, 2013 (AFP) – Gambling mogul James Packer’s plan to build a $1.5 billion casino in Sydney aimed at Asian high-rollers has won crucial support from the state government. The New South Wales government late Monday struck a “binding agreement” for the project to operate from November 2019 in a prime location on Sydney Harbour under strict conditions that included VIP gaming only and no slot machines.

Legislation will be introduced into parliament this week to gain official approval for Crown’s casino and six-star hotel, although it also needs a green light from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

“We support this proposal because of its economic benefits to New South Wales,” state Premier Barry O’Farrell said, adding that 1,300 jobs would be created during construction and 1,200 jobs once it was up and running.

“What Crown is guaranteeing is a minimum of a billion dollars (revenue to the government) over the first 15 years in operation. But their business case model suggests that figure will be far higher.”

Billionaire Packer runs Crown, a worldwide gambling empire that already operates casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau and is planning compl