Finance Finance News Packer’s big Las Vegas plan

Packer’s big Las Vegas plan

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Gambling mogul James Packer is set to make another attempt at cracking the big casino market in the United States.

Mr Packer’s Crown Resorts has established a joint-venture resort company with former Wynn Las Vegas president Andrew Pascal, with financial backing from Oaktree Capital Management.

The new resort company, which is majority-owned by Crown, has bought a controlling interest in a 34.6-acre vacant site on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, for about $US280 million.

The new resort company intends to develop its first project on the site.

“You can’t be in the gaming industry and not have a special reverence for Las Vegas. That’s where it all began,” Mr Packer, who is chairman of Crown Resorts and co-chairman of the new company, said in a statement on Monday.

“As we have built Crown Resorts into a thriving international company with successful casino ventures in Australia, Macau, and London, we’ve always kept our eye on Las Vegas.

“And while we fell short in past attempts to enter that market, we now have the ideal opportunity, with a great local partner in Andrew, a leading financial investor in Oaktree, and the perfect piece of property.”

The site on the Las Vegas Strip was formerly occupied by the New Frontier casino.

It was acquired via a foreclosure auction initiated by lenders to the former site owner.

Plans for the new development are still being finalised.

The new resort company hopes to start the development in late 2015 and complete the project in 2018.

Mr Pascal, who is the other co-chairman of the new resort company and its chief executive, said he was excited to have to be involved in crafting something new for the resurgent Las Vegas market.

Oaktree president Bruce Karsh said the Frontier site was the best piece of undeveloped land on the Las Vegas Strip.

Shares in Crown were three cents lower at $15.97 at 1022 AEST.