Crown’s Packer wants more gamblers Down Under

Billionaire casino owner James Packer wants Australia to do more to attract rich tourists.

a woman

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Billionaire casino owner James Packer has said that Australia needs to do more to attract rich tourists.

Packer, owner of Crown (ASX: CWN), says that Australia should do more to attract the rising wealth of our Asian neighbours, particularly the Chinese middle class. Mr Packer said “we are in the business of trying to attract more of those tourists to its luxury resorts” and “Australia can do much better”.

Packer is currently engaged in a feud with Echo Entertainment’s (ASX: EGP) The Star for the granting of a casino licence in Sydney for his Crown Resorts casino at Barangaroo. He said that he hopes his Barangaroo bid would be “done and dusted” in the next four months but also raised that he has “been down this road before in Sydney and lost”.

It is no surprise that Echo wishes to challenge Crown over the development, as the group has seen its share price slide 16% in the last 12 months. However, if the challenge is successful Packer has said that his design would not be considered anywhere else because it was a “Sydney-specific” building.

Crown has seen its share price rise over 60% in the past year and continues to impress investors. It offers double the dividend of Echo and has over times the market capital. For the year ended December 31, Crown reported NPAT down 34.1% to $180.78 million and said its loss from an investment in Echo was partially offset by its Australian casino operations remaining strong.

Foolish takeaway

No doubt Crown is in a healthy position to take on new projects. It has operations in the United Kingdom and Macau but will now be bolstered by its Barangaroo project. Crown’s continued search for growth should see it outperform the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) (^AXJO) this year, but since its share price has already jumped hugely, it seems investors have already adjusted for some good news in its next annual report.

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