SYDNEY--(www.onlinecasinoaustralia.com.au.)--The largest casino group in Australia, Crown Ltd, will have to work with smaller rival Echo Entertainment Group if it wants to build a new luxury hotel and casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo waterfront development, reports
Echo has the only casino license for Sydney currently preventing rivals Crown from building a casino in the city. The license is held until 2019 and the chances of the government allowing two casinos to operate in the city prior to this are small.
James Packer, billionaire owner of Crown Ltd, hopes to partner up with Echo in order to build a super resort including a high roller VIP casino catering exclusively to the top end of the gambling market, predominantly made up of wealthy Asians. The high-end market enjoyed an 18.7% growth in revenue in Australia in 2011, largely thanks to high roller room refits and refurbishments. This gives extra clout to Mr Packer’s plans.
Crown has already bought a 10% stake in Echo as has Asian casino operator Genting, which may be open to working with Crown in order to take greater control of Echo. Crown is currently waiting for confirmation on whether it can increase its 10% stake to 25%. However, commentators don’t believe Crown will go any further than this, as its budget is already overstretched as a result of expansion in its more developed markets in Melbourne and Perth.
Currently there is just one casino in Sydney, The Star operated by Echo Entertainment Group. The planned new site for James Packer’s new Crown casino would compete directly with The Star located a mere 10 minutes’ walk away. This may affect Echo’s decision on whether to work with Mr Packer. However, it is inevitable that one way or another a new casino will be built in Sydney believe most commentators as VIP casinos bring in highly prized dollars. So it’s not a question of if it will happen, but when.