- »Crown Sydney Casino to Open Christmas 2020
Crown Sydney Casino to Open Christmas 2020
Crown Sydney is one of the most anticipated projects in Sydney, as it will give a new look to the Barangaroo waterfront area. The massive addition to the area will include a hotel, apartments, restaurants, and a VIP-focused casino.
Construction on the project finally began in 2016, though sometimes stalled periodically due to legal battles and other red tape. Though the estimated completion date has changed numerous times, it is now expected to open on Christmas Day 2020. That’s what James Packer says, anyway.
Packer Visits Sydney Site
Earlier this month, billionaire investor and largest Crown Resorts shareholder James Packer emerged from a mostly self-imposed exile from public life to tour the Crown Sydney development site. He seemed pleased with the progress of the $2.4 billion project at Barangaroo.
In fact, Packer was so pleased that he announced to the media that it would open to the public on Christmas Day this year.
The dates for the opening of the property have changed numerous times. When the project first began, the opening date was expected to be early 2020 for the first tower and the end of 2020 for the rest of it. But along the way, due to numerous battles over the height of the tower and other major details, the opening was delayed. Most expected it to open sometime in 2021.
Packer was particular, though, by naming Christmas Day of this year in his first public appearance in more than a year.
“It’s really pleasing,” Packer said to the media, referring to the opening being three months earlier than planned. “We are truly indebted to our builders, architects and tradies who have made this possible.”
Mid-2019 Issues Resolved
As mentioned, the Crown Sydney project had been delayed numerous times. The most significant and lengthy problem had to do with the height of the tower.
Crown Resorts believed they paid a price for the property that included an exclusive view of the harbor. At one point, Crown and its building partners discovered that the Barangaroo Delivery Authority(BDA), run by the New South Wales government, took bids from other companies for taller buildings that would hinder the Crown tower view.
The two entities went to court, and the battle moved through to the NSW Supreme Court. In December 2018, that court ruled for Crown, ruling that the BDA violated its development agreements with Crown and co-plaintiffs Lendlease.
An appeal by the BDA resulted in a settlement. The details were not publicized, but the NSW government dropped its appeal, and Crown retained its claim to the exclusive views.
Crown Sydney Project Details
The website dedicated to the project, which still boasts of an early 2021 opening date, gives insight into the new destination for visitors to Sydney. It is described as a “pinnacle of modern design that harmoniously brings together an opulent hotel, prestigious apartments, signature restaurants, premium gaming areas and a lavish spa.”
One Barangaroo will be the tower of residences – 82 of them – with views of the Sydney Harbour and its landmarks. The apartments range from 2-bedroom to 6-bedroom homes with some Duplex Penthouses as well.
Packer purchased two floors of the hotel, not the residence tower, that are being converted into a second home for him. “I grew up in Sydney, and my kids still spend time here,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place, and I hope to spend more time visiting.”
And there will be gaming. But Crown Sydney has taken special care not to call the casino a casino. The website calls it a “premium table games experience.”
Evidently, there will be no pokies, only table games like baccarat, blackjack, and roulette. And though the website is sparse on details, it does refer to a “VIP-only gaming facility.”
Previous Problems with VIP Gaming
The Crown scandal that took the company and gaming community by storm in 2019 had fallout that particularly affected VIP gaming in Australia.
Much of the spotlight was on VIP gamblers at Crown properties, many of whom used junkets to travel from Asia and gamble for high stakes. After the scandal broke, though, the government crackdowns began, and most junkets stopped.
This put such a dent in Crown’s bottom line that Crown Executive Chairman John Alexander had to acknowledge it at a shareholder presentation in late 2019. He revealed that VIP turnover for the first three and a half months of the new fiscal year, which started July 1, was down 46%.
Crown blamed much of the downturn on the Chinese economy hurt by the United States and on the media that publicized the scandal.
Regardless, Crown Sydney is going to face a challenge to create a successful new VIP-only gaming facility, one with no pokies, at the new property. The new environment and scrutiny on high-stakes gambling will be a test of Crown’s dedication to gaming.