Sydney casino decision imminent

Murray defends process ahead of ruling on rival Crown, Echo casino plans.

The New South Wales (NSW) government is preparing to announce which of two rival casino proposals will be allowed to proceed, The Australian Financial Review reports.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell is expected to announce today whether James Packer's Crown Group Ltd proposal for a six-star hotel and high-roller casino at the Barangaroo development will proceed or whether instead Echo Entertainment Group Ltd proposal to expand The Star casino in nearby Pyrmont will be approved (see Cliona O'Dowd's Collected Wisdom).

Ahead of the announcement, the head of the independent panel reviewing the proposals, David Murray, defended claims the process had been unfair.

He said the panel gave equal time and attention to both casino proposals.

“I think that was appropriately run when we look back on it,” Mr Murray told the AFR.

Mr Murray submitted his report to Mr O'Farrell on Wednesday, and was expected to have recommended whether either of the proposals should proceed to a final stage of the approvals process for unsolicited private sector proposals.

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