The New South Wales government has given Crown Limited the green light for its VIP casino and luxury hotel in Sydney.
Crown’s A$1.5 billion Darling Harbour proposal was selected on the recommendation of an independent blue-ribbon panel appointed to decide between it and a counter-offer from Echo Entertainment, the city’s current monopoly operator, to expand its Star casino at the other end of the harbor with $1 billion worth of new hotels and other attractions, including parklands and a pedestrian bridge crossing the harbor.
The approval allows Crown Sydney, as the project is called, to proceed to the third stage of the government’s unsolicited proposal process for major projects. It now has the ability to begin negotiating a final binding offer with the state and pursue planning approval. It also means Echo will lose its exclusive casino rights when its monopoly expires in 2019, although the company may still decide to expand the Star in an effort to beef up its competitiveness.
Crown’s plans include a 60-story, 250-meter-high hotel tower that will include luxury apartments, public and private gaming space, gourmet restaurants, entertainment and other leisure attractions.