It was announced that Crown Resorts, one of the two bidders to operate a new casino on Queen's Wharf in Sydney, has finalized its offer.
The winner of the bid will be announced on July 14th after the state budget.
Crown Resorts, chaired and half-owned by James Packer, is competing with Echo Entertainment to develop Queen's Wharf. The group's proposal, $2 billion, was tweaked at the last moment after a meeting was held by its board members.
It was voted to approve a number of last-minute changes, including increase financial perks for the Queensland government. The board also agreed to buy back poker machines from clubs and pubs across the state so that the cap on pokie machines was not exceeded in Queensland.
In 2013, Crown Resorts beat Echo Entertainment when it won the rights to operate a second Sydney casino at Barangaroo. As such, from 2019, Echo will not be the sole casino license holder in New South Wales.
Analysts Expect Echo to Win
Despite major efforts by Crown Resorts to create an offer which it hopes the state government cannot refuse, there is wide belief among banks and analysts that the winner of the bid will be Echo.
One of the reasons is that Echo currently holds the only existing casino license for Sydney. In addition, Queensland pubs and clubs support Echo's bid.
Banks estimate that development of the Queen's Wharf site could reach $2 million.
Calls to Speed Up Casino Decision
In the meantime, Queensland Premier Annastacia Plaszczuk stove off pressure from her opposition to bring the announcement date of the bid's winner forward. She said that the government would not announce the winner before the July 14th state budge.
"As I have said previously, we were expecting an announcement on Queen's Wharf before the end of this month," she said. "It is still a work in progress. I don't expect the announcement to be made before the budget. There are still ongoing discussions."
The Liberal National Party accused the Labor of dragging its feet in announcing the winner. "It is time for Labor to get on with this announcement and not simply delay it to try and gain some glory at a time when everyone knows there will be no good news for the people of this state," said opposition leader Lawrence Springborg.