Echo and Crown Seek to Build

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Echo Entertainment Group Ltd., based in Australia and counting Southeast Asia’s biggest gaming group among its list of shareholds—Genting Group—recently came under a heavy amount of pressure thanks to its failure to host a campaign last year in order to retain an exclusive casino licence within Sydney.

Lawmakers recently agreed to give Crown its own gaming license, which would be the second of its kind. Crown is currently planning to open a new facility for high rollers as it aims to draw in wealthy Chinese gamblers residing by the Sydney Harbour in 2019.

This fight has now gone up north to Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland and also a major gateway for tourists heading to different destinations like the Great Barrier Reef and the Gold Coast. Crown also announced that it intends to build a new A$1.5 billion retail, casino and hotel complex in Brisbane after the government of Queensland expressed interest for more development within the city; this is just one of the three new licences that the government has said it would offer for the state.

Echo’s response to this is that it would also invest A$1.5 billion to transform the central Brisbane Treasury casino and hotel along with its nearby Gold Coast Jupiters casino into two unique resorts. The company had previously sold its Townsville complex in northern Queensland to the Colonial Leisure Group for A$70 million so that it could focus on Brisbane.

Genting of Malaysia views Echo as a means to continue increasing its footprint within the Australian market as it currently looks for approval so that it can have a stake higher than 10 percent. Even so, analysts continue to see whether Genting will end up making a solo venture in Brisbane, which would certainly be a major blow to Echo.

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