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A New Casino at Baranagroo?

Leaving aside the debate about whether Sydney (or Australia for that matter) needs another casino, and if the competition is a good thing for lovers of an Australian Casino or not, it looks like a second Sydney casino might be coming closer to being a reality.

James Packer has made no secret of his desire to add a Sydney site to his already impressive portfolio of Australian Casinos, seeking approval to increase his stake in Echo Entertainment (owners of The Star casino resort) and now taking a long look at a Barangaroo site.

Lend Lease Chief Executive Steve McCann added to the rumour mill last week with a number of loaded comments that came on the back of his company securing a massive AU$2billion to build the first two commercial towers at the Bangaroo site that has generated its fair share of controversy and then some.

The deal would give Lend Lease the right to include a hotel at the site, and there has been predictable buzz about which hotel provider would get the nod. McCann was cagey, but Crown was a name that came up: 'if you look at Crown's facilities elsewhere in Australia and overseas they're very high quality. We're looking for a very high quality hotel and if the opportunity to get a gaming licence puts them in a strong commercial position, which is what you'd expect, then I've no doubt they'd be a competitive proposition.'

The gaming license isn’t a given, of course – the debate continues over Australia’s casinos and their place in the commercial and social life of the country (that includes pokies in pubs and social clubs, and the online casinos that Australian customers seem to love, especially now with the arrival of mobile casinos).

We’re not really sure whose decision it is in the end, but there are plenty of loud voices on both sides of the debate at the moment. A few things are sure, though: Australia’s casinos are in good shape in spite of a sluggish economy and fierce competition in Asia-Pacific; the online casinos are more popular than ever before with lovers of a flutter here in Australia, and we’d love to have a new Australian Casino resort to visit.

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