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A Second Casino For Sydney

It’s taken a long time, and a great deal of legal wrangling that we haven’t been party to, but it looks like there will be a new addition to the Sydney skyline, out in Darling Harbour.

And it looks like a big, shiny new addition, too, if the plans we’re seeing are anything to go by. The Sydney skyline is iconic, to say the least, but that’s not likely to get in the way of the ambitions of a man like James Packer, the man behind Crown Casinos, who have won a license to open Sydney’s second casino in 2019.

It looks like a corker. The mostly-low-rise skyline of Darling Harbour will be fundamentally changed by the massive redevelopment, which will include a six-star hotel and a members-only casino, as well as the usual ultra-luxury trappings: infinity pool, nightlife, restaurants, entertainment and plenty of accommodation.

All in, it’ll be an AU$1.6billion project, and one that Packer has high hopes for: ‘I want this building to be instantly recognisable around the world and feature on postcards and memorabilia promoting Sydney. That’s how you attract international tourists, create jobs and put Sydney on the map.’

Without wanting to point out that Sydney already features on plenty of maps, the subtext there is that Packer wants his casinos to be able to compete with the other ultra-luxury casino resorts in Asia-Pacific for their share of the high-roller gambling market that could potentially net him so much cash.

Of course, a new development for Sydney would bring a fresh influx of tourists to a city that already thrives on the trade, not to mention the stimulus that a project on that scale provides locally. But will it benefit Australians, or just James Packer?

Australians can be rightly proud of their casinos, we think, and there will be absolutely no harm in having yet another excellent venue to visit. What we’re really interested to see is the effect on Echo Entertainment’s The Star, which has been a fixture of Sydney’s nightlife for a long while now.

Echo are concerned, if their AU$1billion bid to stop the new license is any indication, but a little bit of healthy competition might be just the thing for the Australian Casino tourist, especially if they’re in the vicinity of Sydney...

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