Packer Allowed More Shares In Rival Star City

After 15 months, Australian billionaire James Packer was finally given the go-ahead to increase his share in rival casino operator Echo Entertainment from 10 percent to 23 percent.

Echo operates Star Casino, Sydney, which has the sole license to run a casino in the city to 2019.

Since his application, Packer has launched plans for a $1 billion casino in Sydney.

Echo counter-proposed to upgrade its facilities in return for a monopoly extension. Analysts said that if a Government review green-lights Packer’s project, he won’t need to beef up his Echo holdings. If it doesn’t, Packer will up his stakes to force a joint venture.

Echo is also setting up a new modern-style casino complex in Brisbane, to replace its current Treasury Casino, which it says it has outgrown. But it is demanding to be the sole operator in the city if it is to proceed with its $1 billion development, due for operations by 2019.