Echo unveils Sydney casino plans

The owner of Sydney's The Star casino has unveiled plans for a "world first" resort linking harbour precincts, while leaving the door open for a restricted second casino from rival James Packer.

The owner of Sydney's The Star casino has unveiled plans for a "world first" resort linking harbour precincts, while leaving the door open for a restricted second casino from rival James Packer.

Echo Entertainment Group Ltd and the rival Crown Group Ltd submitted their duelling casino proposals to the New South Wales government on Friday.

Echo's $1.1 billion plan includes a $250 million offer to the NSW government, to extend its right to hold the state's sole casino licence for a further 15 years after it expires in 2019.

This would lock out Mr Packer's planned casino at Barangaroo - a tower featuring six-star hotel and VIP-only gaming facility.

Echo's plan involves the creation of a resort precinct with a $130 million pedestrian and cycle bridge and a multi million dollar upgrade of the city's light rail system.

"If approved, our plans will complete Sydney's new feature precinct, integrating Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and Pyrmont," Echo chairman John O'Neill announced over the weekend.

Echo proposes increasing the number of rooms at The Star to 1150 - with two international hotels including a six star luxury hotel and a five star premium hotel run by a premium Asian operator.

The company has also offered Premier Barry O'Farrell an alternative option to extending its sole casino rights.

Echo will support Crown's Barangaroo proposal alongside its proposed new precinct on the proviso that Crown be restricted to table games only and to customers strictly defined as VIP under NSW and international regulations.

The government would also forgo the additional $250 million exclusivity payment from Echo under such an arrangement, Mr O'Neill said.

The NSW Greens have called on the government to release both plans, to allow the public to have all of the information and "cut through the gloss".

Echo CEO John Redmond said the company wasn't proposing any more gaming tables or poker machines.

However he said there were no restrictions on the number of tables at The Star and additional tables would be added in response to demand.

"We don't need to add any more tables and we don't have any requirements to do or not to do so," he told reporters.

"But it will be anticipated since what you're seeing here is addressing future growth as well.

"As demand warrants we of course will add additional capacity, add tables on the floor to pick up that additional demand."

The Tourism and Transport Forum said an integrated resort of the kind proposed by Echo, as well as its second option allowing both casino proposals to go ahead, would be a huge boost to tourism.

"This is a best-of-both-worlds option and something we believe the New South Wales government should closely consider," chief executive Ken Morrison said.

A spokesman for Barry O'Farrell said the premier would not comment on the proposal until he had received a recommendation from the committee tasked with assessing the benefits to the state of both proposals.