Hit me, Barry: Packer wins Sydney casino fight

Published 04 July 2013 13:54, Updated 05 July 2013 10:14

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Hit me, Barry: Packer wins Sydney casino fight

Cheers, Barry: the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has given James Packer’s Barangaroo casino proposal the go ahead.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has announced on Thursday afternoon that James Packer’s Crown Barangaroo luxury hotel and invitation-only casino has been selected to proceed to the third stage of the government’s unsolicited proposal process for major projects.

Both the expert panel led by former Future Fund chairman David Murray and the Premier ultimately agreed with Crown’s argument that Packer’s resort could grow the total share of high-roller gaming revenue coming into NSW.

Crown has agreed to pay a minimum $1 billion in nominal gaming tax and licence fee payments to the state government over the first 15 years, including an upfront licence fee of $100 million.

Echo Entertainment Group’s competing proposal will not proceed and the company, which owns Sydney’s The Star, will lose its grip on the city’s casino monopoly from 2019.

Echo’s share price fell 10¢ to $2.91 in the minutes after this story broke on afr.com, before the company requested a trading halt. The share price is down 4.3 per cent on Wednesday’s closing price of $3.04.

Crown was placed in a trading halt at $12.21 prior to the news, up 2.2 per cent from Wednesday’s closing price of $11.95.

Now that Crown’s plan has progressed to the next stage of the unsolicited proposal process, the company will begin negotiating a final binding offer with the state government. The company will also have to undertake a separate planning approval process, which will open the controversial projects to public consultation for the first time.

Read the full story on AFR.com