In 5 years, Australia will be welcoming high-rollers to a brand new VIP casino at Barangaroo, an inner-city suburb of Sydney.
James Packer’s company has officially been granted approval to open a new gambling venue in Australia. But only from November 2019.
Six months ago, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) was calling for public submissions for new projects that will help the local economy grow. This week, officials have made a decision and announced that Crown Resorts is getting the green light for its new VIP casino.
The gambling venue will be aimed at Chinese high-rollers, known to be some of the world’s biggest spenders, as Australia is striving to become a top gambling destination in Asia. According to local gambling news, the new business will bring the government a guaranteed minimum of $1 billion in license fees and gaming taxes, over the first 15 years.
Casino and six-star hotel resort
Why Asian high-rollers?
It is said that 80% of the world’s high-rollers come from Asia and some of them spend millions of dollars in one night. Here are the biggest casino whales in history:
• The Sultan of Brunei
• Adnan Khashoggi
• the late Kerry Packer
In November last year, the state cabinet approved a proposal for a VIP-only casino at Barangaroo. Officials agreed to allow it to operate under Australian gambling laws for a period of 99 years.
The casino will be part of a six-star hotel resort. No poker machines are allowed, but Crown can set up any number of table games such as roulette, blackjack and baccarat, as well as automatic casino games.
Shortly after the state government approved its application, Crown Sydney asked for a “restricted gaming license”. The ILGA then examined the offer, the company and its close associates, in order to determine whether they are suited to operate a casino in Sydney.
The authority said the goal of the investigation was to makes sure that ownership, finances and the management plan of the proposed venue were “satisfactory and financially viable.”
Crown promises millions in tax revenue
The new deal will bring the state of New South Wales millions of dollars in revenue. In the first 15 years, the amount sent on license fees and gaming taxes will reach a guaranteed minimum of $1 billion.
Regular VIP gambling will be taxed at 29 cents in the dollar and revenue from international customers will be taxed 10%. Crown has also agreed to pay the state government $100 million within five working days and a $5 million deposit was already paid last July.
According to Rowen Craigie, chief executive officer of Crown Resorts, the probity clearance was “an important milestone” in the development of the $1.3 billion Barangaroo project. He added that the project would “help activate Barangaroo 24 hours a day, making the precinct a safe and vibrant place for tourists, local residents and all Sydneysiders.”
Along with a casino, the resort will include a high-end hotel and luxury apartments. But before moving forward with the plan, Crown needs to ask for the approval of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority first.
More plans to bring economic growth
There are more than a dozen casinos in Australia, as gambling is a big part of the country’s economy. But other major projects are in the works and they all aim to be bigger and better, as Australia is preparing to impress the world and become a major gambling hub in Asia.
While Chinese-Australian ASF Consortium is planning to invest AUD 7.5 billion in its Broadwater Marine Project located on the Gold Coast, businessman Tony Fung’s plans also seem to be advancing nicely.
In May, Fung received approval to build the Aquis resort in Cairns. The investment is worth AUD $8.15 billion and is being hailed as the most expensive tourist attraction in the country. Plans will move forward once the company obtains all the necessary documentation.
More than 20,000 employees will work at the eight hotels, exhibition center, championship golf course, entertainment centers and aquarium – one of the largest in the world – included in the resort.
The Aquis is scheduled to open in 2018 and it is estimated that it will contribute a yearly AUD 1.4 billion to the local budget.