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Top Australian Casino Mogul returns to vegas

Top Australian Casino Mogul Ventures a Return to the Las Vegas Market

Written By Carla Harris

Las Vegas

The Executive Chairman of Australia's Crown Resorts, Ltd., James Packer, is betting big on a rapidly recovering Las Vegas economy. Partnering with former Wynn Resorts executive Andrew Pascalwith and the global asset management firm Oaktree Capital Management, he has recently acquired a 34.5-acre site on the North Las Vegas Strip.

Mr. Packer and his partners plan to erect a massive new casino complex on land that was formerly occupied by the historic New Frontier Hotel and Casino. As the majority stakeholders in the project, Packer and Crown Resorts have already spent more than $280 million on land acquisition and preliminary development planning. While certainly high-stakes, that figure is considerably less than the $1.24 billion that Israeli businessmen Nochi Dankner and Yitzhak Tshuva paid for the very same plot of land shortly after the demolition of the New Frontier in 2007.

After losing nearly $2 billon in Las Vegas during the financial crisis of 2008, James Packer has primarily focused on his multiple casino ventures in his home country of Australia. As Crown Resort’s Executive Chairman, he operates Melbourne’s world-renown Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex . Located in the heart of the downtown area on the south bank of the Yarra River, it is the single largest casino and hotel complex in the Southern Hemisphere.

In addition to his Australian gaming empire, Mr. Packer oversees successful gambling and leisure operations in Sri Lanka and the Philippines. With a little luck, his new enterprise on the New Frontier lot will finally give him a stronghold in the elusive Las Vegas market.

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