James Packer’s Crown Resort and Echo Entertainment who are casino rivals had their last chance with their almost $3 billion bids to win the rights to build a massive casino project at Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane.
The final bids of these two groups to develop a six star luxury hotel, casino and entertainment complex that will be situated in the center of the CBD were tendered last week, with a decision on the winner to be announced by the end of July.
Both companies revealed their final visions for the project; however the deal comes down to the financial details as well as the gaming and casino license fees.
Anthony Lynham, the State Development Minister said that the multibillion dollar precinct will be able to create thousands of jobs.
Lynham also said the bidding winner will have undergone thorough scrutiny in regards to financial, environmental and probity matters.
Packer has claimed that his company is the underdog in this bidding war, as Echo has the home ground advantage. However, last year Crown Resorts was able to negotiate a special restricted casino license fee of $100 million in Sydney, which effectively ended Echo Entertainment’s domination in that market via The Star Casino.
Echo is backed by Hong Kong’s Far East and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises. Crown resorts are being backed by China’s Greenland Holdings.
Both companies plan to build 2500 new apartments in five skyscrapers spanning over 10 blocks.
Other features include sky bars, outdoor water parks and eateries. A new bridge across the river would feature light shows and waterfalls, with the bridge linking Brisbane Botanic Gardens to South Bank.
If Crown wins the bid then they will be hosting somewhere between 1500 to 2500 new poker machines (slots).
Echo though would be transferring 1600 pokies from their Treasury Casino and plans to turn the heritage listed building into a high-end retail center.
The Queensland Liquor and Gaming Commission and independent advisors are leading integrity investigations into the finances and the legal affairs of the groups and the Chinese partners. The casino resort will also need to be free of any criminal influences, exploitation and undesirable financial sources.