Written By Carla Harris
Sydney Harbour is poised to become ground zero in a high-stakes contest between two Australian gaming giants. The sixth largest gaming company in the world according to market value, Crown Resorts owns and operates a number of successful international gambling venues, including Melbourne’s Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex, the single largest casino and hotel facility in the Southern Hemisphere.
Crown’s dominance within the Australian gaming industry is currently under attack by junior betting house Echo Entertainment Group. Echo’s August 2014 earnings report exceeded market expectations, posting a 35 percent jump in yearly net profits. To a large degree, this boost comes as a result of recent efforts to revitalize its large Sydney Harbour casino and resort, The Star.
Featuring a wide range of table games and electronic gaming, The Star has been the crown jewel of Echo’s portfolio since the company was established in 2011. Echo is currently making the most out of its flagship property through an innovative loyalty program that has significantly increased repeat business.
Since instituting this program last year, the company has been experiencing rapid and continual growth. Furthermore, according to Echo’s Managing Director Matt Bekier, this trend is expected to continue. Thanks to a number of improvements planned for 2015, The Star’s financial future has never been brighter.
Although it is currently five times larger than Echo by market cap, Crown Resorts certainly isn’t blind to the rising threat that The Star presents. Taking advantage of the fact that Echo lost its exclusive Sydney gaming license earlier this year, Crown recently announced plans to build its own luxury casino and resort in Sydney Harbour.
Operating under the name Crown Sydney, this state-of-the-art facility will directly challenge The Star on its home turf. When it opens in 2019, Crown Sydney will become the tallest building in the city, surpassing the height of Sydney’s Citigroup Centre by 32 meters.