The Straits Times
Published on Oct 26, 2012

Packer's high-roller Sydney casino moves closer


SYDNEY (AFP) - Mr James Packer's plan to build a US$1.0 billion (S$1.2 billion) casino without slot machines in Sydney has moved a step closer, with the mogul confident of luring Asian high-rollers who enjoy the "rush" of gambling.

Mr Packer, who already operates casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau and is planning a complex in Manila, is nearer to his Sydney dream after winning bipartisan political support for a licence on Thursday. The New South Wales state government gave initial approval to the proposal at the Barangaroo development site in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

NSW State Premier Barry O'Farrell said the facility would help NSW compete "in the lucrative and booming Asian tourism market" and it would now be subject to "a rigorous financial appraisal" on the benefits it could bring.

Mr Packer plans to build a six-star hotel - Sydney's first - and a VIP invitation-only gaming resort that will be the first in the world with no poker machines.