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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Australia's Crown Casino To Get $212 Million Revamp Creating Jobs, by Greg Tingle - 26th March 2010

Crown Casino, iconic Australian tourism icon, is to receive a revamp that will keep the demanding high rollers happy, and at the same time create hundreds more jobs.

Crown's most upmarket (and most expensive) area is to get a $212 million facelift to satisfy up whales, dolphins and the high roller type client who often prefer more luxurious casinos overseas. Good thing Mr James Packer also has the City Of Dreams in Macau, which is also on a roll at the moment.

The Mahogany Room upgrade will include 11 new private gaming salons installed and the Crown villas will also be refurbished to match standards found anywhere in the world.

A G5 Gulfstream jet, customized for casino high rollers, will be added to the casino's two existing jets at the cost of a cool $30 million.

Crown CEO David Courtney told the press that the casino planned to introduce an extra 26 tables in the new gaming club and expand the world famous Mahogany Room by 50 per cent.

Thirty-five new tables have already been introduced on the ground level game floor as part of the 150 extra tables granted by the Victorian Government in its agreement with Crown's king of the castle, James Packer.

Four new private gaming suites will allow individual high rollers to gamble by themselves, have their own massage and dining rooms and be waited on by butlers. It's all very much like the James Bond type of thing, but for real, for the elite who can afford such luxury.

Mr Courtney said the upgrade was necessary to help attract international gamblers from other, more modern and luxurious casinos in Asia.

"The competition for high-end gaming customers is intense. We need to make these investments. This is a continuation of our three or four-year program to upgrade. The timing is important to upgrade our rooms and facilities."

The upgrade follows amendments to the Crown licence, negotiated with the Government and ratified by Parliament last year. The business deal allows more gaming tables and a higher tax on gaming machines.

Anti-gambling activist Tim Costello attacked the project with remarks such as "Crown gets whatever it wants. It has extraordinary power."

The presidential suite on level 39, which has housed high-profile figures such as former U.S president Bill Clinton, Pavarotti, Barbra Streisand Katie Holmes, and Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible, Top Gun) will move to level 38 and take up the entire floor.

At the same time Crown is looking into who to best adapt to the online gaming world. The company enjoyed some success last year with referrals from online poker brand, PartyPoker, a PartyGaming offering, for their Aussie Millions Poker Championship.

Media Man has suggested the addition of a Kerry Packer, Ned Kelly and Underbelly themed games to be incorporated into Crown's overall online-offline strategy, citing that punters want to see more slots than existing Cleopatra, Black Rhino, Big Red, Wheel Of Fortune and the like.

Crown Casino is also pro actively involved with movement, GenerationOne, an initiative to help created upwards of 50,000 jobs for Indigenous Australia. Thus far Packer's created 200, mining magnate mate, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest with 2000, NSW government committing over 2000, and Media Man earmarking 2 part time positions. Speaking at the iGaming Business conference at Sydney's Star City, Media Man advised that employment for people has to come from somewhere, and that casinos and the gaming industry do enjoy significant resources, some of which go a long way to providing sustainable employment, tied in with the travel and tourism sector.

The casino rooms revamp project is on track to be completed in the first half of 2012.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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