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Australia’ Crown Casino and James Packer on the Upswing

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Apr/03/2009

Greg Tingle of Media Man Enterprises in Australia reports on positive news circulating around Australian gambling magnate James Packer and his Crown Casino venture

Tingle tells Gambling911.com:

"Australia's James Packer looks to be on the upswing again.  Face to face appearances with Sir Richard Branson, social gatherings and another potential investment into Las Vegas.  Maybe some of Branson's positive can do attitude has rubbed off on our James when they chatted in Melbourne last month. I can tell you from first hand experience that Branson's positive attitude pretty infectious.  He helped us go from 3 websites to 7 in the world financial recession period no less!  Recently Branson was quoted, ‘What recession?', so perhaps Packer may of the same sort of thinking.  

"One can bet that Packer would be keen to regain some of this financial wealth back which was halved in the past one year plus. One would think that if there are still some true casino ‘whales' left they would frequent Las Vegas of of course Macau, where Packer just happens to be pushing along Crown Macau and The City Of Dreams."

Tingle's remarks come on news that the Australian billionaire is considering taking a stake in City Center, the troubled Las Vegas development owned by Dubai World and MGM Mirage, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"Mr. Packer, whose Melbourne-based gambling company, Crown Ltd, has large casinos in Australia and China, is discussing the possibility of an investment in the project with Colony Capital LLC, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, according to this person.  Colony and Crown "would step in and take over the funding requirements. The idea is to keep City Center going," said the person, who is close to discussions."

But the project in question is not without its headaches.

While an investment from Colony and Crown could infuse much needed cash into the project to save it from bankruptcy, and keep it from shutting down, the $8.6 billion project has come under fire by Dubai World, the investment arm of the Persian Gulf state.  Dubai World is suing MGM Mirage over the project, citing mismanagement and cost overruns.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Dubai World so far has $4.3 billion invested in the project and skipped its regular monthly payment in March. MGM Mirage made the full $200 million payment, including Dubai World's share in order to keep the project going.

Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com 

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