Billionaire James Packer first outlined his vision for 온라인바카라 a Sydney casino to then Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell at the harbourside home of broadcaster Alan Jones.
The three men gathered in February 2012 inside Jones’s apartment at No 1 Macquarie Street in the Bennelong Apartments building better known as The Toaster.
At that meeting Packer revealed his dream to build a $1billion hotel, 우리카지노 casino and entertainment complex at Barrangaroo on the north-western edge of Sydney’s central business district.
Six months later O’Farrell met Packer again and 바카라사이트 advised him to pursue a new framework for infrastructure developments his government called an ‘unsolicited proposals process’.
A week after the second meeting in August the state government updated that framework in a way which allowed Crown to avoid a tendering process.
Billionaire James Packer first outlined his vision for a Sydney casino to then Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell at the harbourside home of broadcaster Alan Jones.The three men gathered in February 2012 inside Jones’s apartment in The Toaster. Packer is pictured with Jones in 2006
James Packer outlined his vision to build a $1billion hotel, casino and entertainment complex at Barrangaroo to premier Barry O’Farrell (pictured).Six months later O’Farrell met Packer again and advised him to pursue an ‘unsolicited proposals process’
Packer’s $1billion vision turned into a $2.2billion project that has now been clouded by an independent inquiry which found Crown facilitated money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth casinos.Packer is pictured inspecting the Crown Sydney site in January last year
Packer’s $1billion vision turned into a $2.2billion nightmare now further clouded by an independent inquiry which found Crown facilitated money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth casinos.
His meeting with O’Farrell at Jones’s home, which is outlined in the inquiry report, gives an insight how big business deals in Sydney are conducted.
Packer’s father Kerry had long wanted to run his own a casino in his hometown but not even his money, power and connections could get the deal done.
That job was left to his only son James, who supposedly used charm over bullying in his negotiations to win the city’s second casino licence.
But he too has now faltered, with inquiry commissioner Paddy Bergin finding Crown unfit to operate a casino inside what was meant to be Packer’s lasting family monument.
Commissioner Bergin also found Crown put its staff in China in danger of being detained and dealt with junket operators it was told were involved in organised crime.
Packer put forward his Crown Sydney project in 2012 under a NSW State Government major infrastructure policy for ‘unsolicited proposals’ which did not require a tendering process
James Packer’s father Kerry had long wanted to run a casino in Sydney but was denied the opportunity.Packer junior wanted to create a lasting legacy in his hometown
Her report indicated a slew of serious changes needed to be made to save the embattled casino, starting with sacking CEO Kenneth Barton.
‘[Mr Barton] demonstrated that he is no match for what is needed at the helm of a casino Licensee,’ Commissioner Bergin’s report stated.
‘The Authority would be justified in concluding that it cannot have any confidence in dealing with Mr Barton as a director of the Licensee or Crown.’
The report also said keeping Michael Johnston and Andrew Demetriou as directors would greatly hinder Crown’s efforts to hold a casino licence.
On Wednesday morning, Crown accepted the resignations of directors Mr Johnston and Mr Jalland.
The inquiry heard Packer, who quit his executive roles with Crown in November 2018, still held extraordinary influence over the company in which he owned 36 per cent.
Stopping the casino could prove costly for taxpayers – Crown has projected the Sydney operation would pay at least $1billion in gaming taxes in its first 15 years.
Packer’s big gamble at Barangaroo has also been costly for Packer but critics say Crown Sydney had unfairly had the cards stacked in its favour from the start.
Crown Sydney (pictured) was originally estimated to cost $1billion. That has now blown out to at least $2.2billion
Packer’s Crown Sydney penthouse, which he does not intend occupying anytime soon, features incredible views of the surrounding city.Pictured is an artist’s impression of Crown Sydney’s apartments showing a bathroom and living areas
The 53-year-old’s stated vision for Barangaroo has always concentrated on the hotel part of his proposal, rather than the high-rollers’ casino, which he said would be necessary to fund the project.
‘We want it to be an iconic building that complements the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House,’ he has said.
Sydney had been home to well-run illegal casinos throughout the 1970s and 1980s and demand for baccarat and blackjack was never going to dissipate but organised crime could not be properly taxed.
As with other so-called vice industries such as prostitution, successive state governments subtly acknowledged the public accepted they existed and moves were made to legalise and regulate the trade.
Late last century Kerry Packer bid for the first Sydney casino licence but lost out to a Showboat-Leighton Properties consortium in December 1994.
James Packer has said he wants Crown Sydney to stand alongside the Sydney Habour Bridge and Opera House as icons of Australia’s biggest city.Construction of the project is pictured
A temporary facility known as Sydney Harbour Casino was launched in September 1995 and a permanent structure opened as Star City in November 1997.
Tabcorp had paid $376million for a 12-year licence to operate Star City – later The Star – after a competitive public tender.
That licence was extended by a Labor government in 2007 without going to tender in exchange for $100 million. Echo Entertainment took over The Star’s licence from Tabcorp in 2011.
Packer bought a 10 per cent share of Echo in 2012 and had wanted to use it to build a casino at Barangaroo but when Echo’s board resisted Packer pursued the licence through Crown.
In January 2012 the Coalition state government introduced its unsolicited proposals policy and Packer was quick to take advantage of the opportunity.
The next month, after his meeting with O’Farrell at Jones’s home, he proposed building a six-star hotel, casino and entertainment complex on harbourside land set aside for open space at Barangaroo Central.
Packer’s stated vision for Barangaroo has always concentrated on the hotel part of his proposal, rather than the high-rollers’ casino, which he said would be necessary to fund the project
O’Farrell welcomed the approach but said it would still need to gain regulatory approval.Public figures including former prime Minister Paul Keating and Lord Mayor Clover Moore were firmly against the development.
Keating, who had a difficult history with the Packer family, was a major force behind the revitalisation of Barangaroo and did not want a casino – or a hotel – built on land 온라인바카라 reserved as public space.
Packer began heavily lobbying the Coalition government, Labor Opposition MPs, the cross bench and construction giant Lend Lease.
Lend Lease had already won a tender to develop the southern part of the government-owned land at Barangaroo intended to have a hotel – but not a casino.
Among Packer’s advisers involved in securing the deal were former Labor party powerbrokers Mark Arbib and Karl Bitar and UBS chief executive Matthew Grounds.
But it was Packer who picked up the phone and organised the meetings with Keating, O’Farrell and Opposition planning and infrastructure spokesman Luke Foley that eventually resulted in bipartisan political support.
Former prime minister Paul Keating, who had a difficult history with the Packer family, was a major force behind the revitalisation of Barangaroo and did not want a casino – or a hotel – built on land reserved as public space
A revised proposal by Packer after wide consultation and compromise would see Crown ask to build its casino with Lend Lease at Barangaroo South.
O’Farrell announced in October 2012 that Cabinet had singed off on the initial assessment of Packer’s proposal and the government would begin detailed negotiations with Crown.
At the time O’Farrell addressed concerns other potential operators were being prevented from competing for the state’s second casino licence.
‘No one else has come near us over 18 months,’ he said.’I’m not prepared to deal in hypotheticals.
‘We didn’t have plans for a six-star world-class integrated resort hotel at Barangaroo with VIP-only gaming facility.’
O’Farrell said he doubted another casino would be approved in Sydney if Crown was built.
Packer said he was ‘incredibly grateful’ to both sides of parliament for their backing, which he insisted had not come about due to his personal influence.
Packer wrote in an open letter to Sydneysiders in November 2012 that he just wanted to build the world’s best six-star hotel resort.’For a hotel resort in Sydney to be a landmark building that will attract millions of visitors, it must be on Sydney Harbour,’ he said
‘It’s not lobbying, it’s the strength of a really good idea,’ he said.
‘I think, frankly, if there was a tender it would be very hard to see how we wouldn’t have won.”
Packer later said Crown had merely followed the unsolicited proposals process.
‘Some commentators have raised the process we are undertaking to progress our proposal,’ he said in November 2012.
‘The NSW unsolicited proposal process exists to allow any organisation with unique ideas to make a submission to the government.
‘We have followed that process to the letter and, despite reaching stage two, there is a long way to go.’
Even Keating welcomed the deal when Packer joined with Lend Lease developing the southern end of the Barangaroo site.