James Packer targets Asian high-rollers with new Sydney casino

Sydney, May 16, 2013 (AFP) – Tycoon James Packer has picked a British firm to design his proposed billion-dollar casino for Asian high-rollers in Sydney, saying Thursday it will be “instantly recognisable around the world”. The Australian mogul wants his 60-storey building to rival the Sydney Opera House in the iconic structure stakes and to make it happen selected Wilkinson Eyre Architects ahead of two American firms also on the shortlist.

Wilkinson Eyre is best known for designing Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, the Mary Rose Museum in Britain and the Guangzhou International Finance Centre in China.

“When completed, Crown Sydney will be instantly recognisable around the world,” said Packer, who already operates casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau and is planning a complex in Manila.

“Its iconic curves and fine lines celebrate the harbour and create an architectural ‘postcard’ that will help attract international tourists and assist Sydney to compete with other global destinations.”

His plan is for a six-star hotel — Sydney’s first — and a VIP invitation-only gaming resort that will be the first in the world with no slot machines, which traditionally account for a large slice of casino revenue.