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Sydney Needs 6 Star Hotel, More High Rollers, NSW Premier Says

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Sydney needs a six-star hotel and must attract more high-roller gamblers as it considers two competing casino proposals, New South Wales state Premier Barry O’Farrell said.

Echo Entertainment Group Ltd., which runs Sydney’s only casino, yesterday sought to extend its exclusive license, potentially blocking a rival resort that billionaire James Packer’s Crown Ltd. wants to build on the city’s harbor.

“The high-roller gaming market in the Asia-Pacific region is worth a lot of money and if Echo want to get into it more, if Crown want to get into it more, that is fantastic for New South Wales,” O’Farrell said at the Bloomberg Australia Economic Summit in Sydney today.

New South Wales will approve only one of the two proposals, according to a statement from O’Farrell’s office yesterday. They would be comprehensively reviewed with assessment reports expected by the end of May, O’Farrell said.

Crown, which owns 10 percent of Echo, wants to build a A$1 billion ($1 billion) hotel and casino targeting high-rolling Asian gamblers at the Barangaroo development site just west of Sydney’s main business district.

“Don’t be surprised if it is a choice between backing economic growth -- whether it is the tourism sector or other things -- I will always stand behind it,” O’Farrell said during the summit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Narayanan Somasundaram in Sydney at nsomasundara@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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