James Packer, Australian gambling tycoon, is making headlines for his proposal on two new high-end casinos – one in Barangaroo, New South Wales and the other abroad, in Sri Lanka. Both proposals have met nods and yesses in both NSW and Sri Lanka governments, so far, with reports suggesting substantial tax concessions. Numbers have been released for The Crown Sydney Hotel Resort in NSW; the total for license fees and taxes from revenue was guaranteed at more than 10 billion USD in the first 15 years. The Sri Lanka government was more discrete, circumspectly hinting at a 10-year tax concession without mentioning the exact scope of this agreement.
Aside from tax contributions, high-end casinos also bring about employment and boost tourism. The Crown in NSW is estimated to generate a blinding sum of 442 million USD annually into the state economy by 2025 and employ 1,250 people. Also, with the end of civil war and the establishment of tourist centers in Sri Lanka, investors are estimating an influx of one million international tourists a year.
Indeed, casinos bring additional tax income for the government, employment for the residents, and influx of tourists and, of course, anxiety to the competition. Echo Entertainment, owner of the first casino in NSW and holder of Sydney’s sole casino license, which is due to expire in 2019, was fast to make a counter-proposal. On top of the additional investment to upgrade The Star Casino at Darling Harbor, Echo is also willing to shell out 250 million USD to extend their exclusivity rights. NSW government still had to reconsider, though; improvement of NSW economy from revenue taxes, license fees, and tourist movement is currently under deliberation.
The Crown was recently approved to proceed to the third and final stage of NSW government’s bidding process. Although this approval does not mean a green light to build the casino, things are getting more transparent for Parker. Ultimately, high-rollers are looking forward to these new entertainment centers that will definitely level-up the gaming field.