Echo antes up in Qld
Echo Entertainment has pledged to spend more than $1.5 billion redeveloping its Brisbane and Gold Coast casinos if it wins its high-stakes battle in the sunshine state with James Packer's Crown Resorts.
"We could not have moved faster in committing a significant investment upgrade in Sydney and our attention is now firmly on Queensland," Echo chairman John O'Neill told investors at the company's shareholder meeting on Friday at its flagship casino, The Star.
Echo appears to have lost out to Mr Packer in Sydney, where Crown's plans to develop a $1.3-billion high-roller casino and luxury hotel in competition with The Star have progressed.
Echo and Crown are two of the strongest contenders to redevelop the government precinct in Brisbane's CBD, which goes to tender later this year.
If Echo loses the bid it would throw serious doubt on the company's ability to compete with its current operation, Treasury Casino, which sits in the area proposed for development.
Echo chief executive John Redmond told investors the scale of its total investment will ultimately be determined by a number of factors that may impact on its ability to make an appropriate return.