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Here to stay: Crown lock in Melbourne extension

Fri, Sep 19, 10:29am by Brad McGrath

Crown LimitedCROWN Casino has struck a deal which will allow it to operate in Melbourne until at least 2050, with Labor saying it will not block the agreement it has made with the State Government.

Crown will also be granted more gaming tables and a cut to the high-roller tax it pays, a huge boost given the declining number of VIP players, largely from Asian markets coming to Melbourne.

Victoria will reap over $900 million in taxes and licence payments as the sweetener for extending Crown’s licence.

Opposition leader Daniel Andrews told media that it was with reservations that they were backing the contract extension, mainly because Crown had agreed to retrain 500 retrenched works at Crown’s in-house college over four years.

“Make the best of it as we have done, secure retraining free of charge for those 500 retrenched workers over the next four years, or pretend that we can rewrite this commercial arrangement with no resources on the floor of the Parliament, or scuttle the deal and cost jobs at Crown,” he said.

“Our choice was to scuttle this and cost jobs, waive it through, or make the best of a bad lot, and that’s exactly what we have done.”

The extension of Crown’s stay is great news for business and the 8800 people who work there, according to Crown Resorts chief executive Rowen Craigie.

“We are extremely proud that Crown Melbourne is Victoria’s largest single-site employer and contributes enormously to Victoria’s economy through taxation revenue, tourism and by supporting small business through the local supply chain,” Mr Craigie said.

“We look forward to working closely with both sides of politics to ensure that Crown Melbourne remains a landmark attraction and critical tourism infrastructure for Melbourne and Victoria well into the future.”

Crown will feature an extra 128 poker machines, 40 gaming tables and 50 more automated table game terminals.

Another key feature of the agreement, which sees Crown’s licence extended from 2033 to 2050, includes a clause which means the state government may have to pay compensation of up to $200 million for changes to legislation which could affect Crown.

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