James Packer still pursuing Vegas Casino dream

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Packer team distances itself from Crown?s failings

James Packer’s long held ambitions for a successful Las Vegas project remain well and truly alive despite uncertain trading conditions.

Packer, who through his business Consolidated Press, reduced his stake in casino operator Crown Resorts (CWN) through a $450 million share sale, this week, is still very much keen on an entry into the Vegas market, according to one of his top advisors.

Crown has had its sights on the global gaming hub since it announced in 2014 that a majority-owned subsidiary had acquired a 34.6-acre vacant site on the Las Vegas Strip to develop the $2.5 billion Alon Las Vegas project.

It had been reported that Crown Resorts would be forced to exit its foray into the US casino market with the mooted sale of Cannery Casino Resorts in Las Vegas to private operator Boyd Gaming Corp.

Crown acquired Cannery Casino Resorts for $US1.75 billion ($2.2 billion) in 2007, a portfolio of four casinos in Nevada and western Pennsylvania, hut the impact of the

global financial crisis saw Cannery’s value to nil.

Crown has now partnered with former Wynn Las Vegas president Andrew Pascal to develop the 1100-room resort.

Speaking to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Pascal said this week that Mr Packer’s sell down of his stake in Crown, which reduced the casino billionaire’s interest to 48.2 per cent, would not affect the Las Vegas project.

Pascal said challenges in financing the Las Vegas resort had slowed plans but pre-design and design phases were continuing.

“The project hasn’t been suspended and the financing is complicated because it’s a multibillion-dollar greenfield development,” he said.

Packer, ranked No. 453 on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires with a net worth of $3.5 billion, is also progressing plans to spin off Crown Resorts’ international interests, including the Las Vegas property, into a separate vehicle to its Australian projects.

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