Echo takes fight to Crown at deadline


Crown Ltd.’s proposed Sydney casino would reduce New South Wales’ gambling tax collections by A$14 million ($13.3 million) through 2025 rather than add A$114 million, according to an analysis for Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. submitted to the government and obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald. The analysis, based on the the state’s progressive gambling tax scale, argues that splitting the casino market between the Crown Sydney and Echo’s existing The Star casino would keep both at a lower tax rate. The analysis also argues that the Crown Sydney would generate A$95 million in gross state product in 2025 rather than A$419 million as Crown consultants Allen Consulting Group estimated.

The documents were released this week, which was also the deadline for final proposals for the Crown Sydney and Echo’s proposed expansion of The Star. Echo began a public advertising campaign to promote its plan, despite urgings by Barry O’Farrell, the state’s premier, for the two companies to let his appointed panel do its work reviewing their competing proposals as the result would not be  “determined by popular support”.

John Redmond, Echo chief executive, accused Crown of trying to destabilize his company by suddenly selling its 10 percent stake and questioning its ability to fund The Star’s expansion. He alleged claims he had been drunk and asleep at a bar in The Star were part of a “ridiculous” smear campaign.