Brisbane casino talks advance despite competition probe


Queensland government ministers began formal meetings with Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. and will be meeting with Crown Ltd. about their rival proposals to build a new casino in central Brisbane where Echo currently has a monopoly. John O’Neill, Echo’s chairman, meanwhile called on Crown chairman James Packer and his adviser Mark Arbib to give their version of events after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would look into O’Neill’s allegations that Packer had proposed holding back from pursuing the Brisbane project if Echo did not interfere with Crown’s pursuit of a casino license in Sydney at a meeting in March that included Arbib, a former federal minister. Arbib called Echo’s account “false and untrue” and Crown has also disputed it. New South Wales earlier this month endorsed Crown’s proposed Sydney project over a rival plan from Echo, which also currently has a monopoly there.