Ryan cautious on Crown lease

Acting Vic premier Peter Ryan says granting a 99-year licence to Crown is a 'big call'.

Granting a 99-year licence for Melbourne's Crown Casino would be unusual and a big call, Victoria's acting premier says.

Crown is reportedly demanding a 99-year licence as it negotiates new taxation arrangements announced by the government in December.

The government hopes to negotiate a deal with Crown that would see the venue pay $5,500 for each poker machine in 2013/14 and $22,175 from 2014/15 onwards.

In return Crown is the seeking the new licence and tax breaks for its high roller tables, News Corp Australia reports.

Acting Premier Peter Ryan said while Crown was a big part of the Victorian economy and employed 8500 people, a 99-year licence would be unusual.

"We understand that they want to have a conversation. That conversation is ongoing and will ultimately achieve a resolution I'm sure," he told reporters on Tuesday.

A 99-year licence would be "a big call, big call" and amount to "a very unusual state of affairs," he said.

In a statement after the new tax was announced in December, Crown Resorts chairman James Packer stressed the importance of the casino to the Victorian economy.

He said the casino was having positive negotiations with the state government.

A Crown spokesman said they would not be making any comment while talks with the government were taking place.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said the government had botched the introduction of the new tax, with the consultation process with Crown an afterthought.

"A fair price is the important issue here and I think the government's ability to get a fair price for Victorian taxpayers is significantly limited by the fact that they have botched this," he told reporters.

"It's been badly handled. I wish them luck and I hope that they can fulfil the responsibilities they have to every Victorian taxpayer, but if they finish as they've started, chances are we are not going to get a good deal."

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