Thursday 21st of October 2021

landing at barangaroo...

the new james

small potatoes or is it small chips?...


THE hotel and casino James Packer's Crown Group wants to build at Barangaroo would need a site about the size of three football fields, the company says.

Defending plans to build in Central Barangaroo, an area earmarked for civic, educational and recreational uses, a Crown spokesman said the complex would occupy 2.8 hectares of the 7-hectare central portion, leaving plenty of room for other activities.


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Hear ye, public mongrel, we leave you  a full 4.2 hectares of lawn to sulk in and with and a huge shadow to keep you cool... whot else dayya want?... Meanwhile as you all KNOW,  gambling is fun, entertaining and drains your pockets of that extra cash you'd be stumped to know what to do with... Easy... Anyway the pope is not coming back for a while so you won't need the space to have a large crowd on... And gambling is the new religion, isn't it? That's why we gambler-providores are persecuted by the annoying likes of Wilkie and co...

mundane details...

Interred in the mundane details of the other ''exclusive'' story in another newspaper on the same day was the casual observation that James Packer's Crown, the casino operator behind this truly magnificent and visionary development, might need to get the odd law changed, not to mention a regulatory approval or two.

There was also the trifling fact that Sydney had but one casino licence and that singular licence belonged to Echo Entertainment until 2019, the operator of the Star casino at Pyrmont that would stare straight across the bay at Crown's putative gaming palace.

Perhaps that licence might be stretched across Darling Harbour. It's only 100 metres of water. And, by the way, Crown would first have to take control of its competitor, Echo, which has just splashed a billion dollars on a world-class upgrade of its own.

Details, schmeetails. Packer advised Echo chairman John Story that he should shuffle over and kindly give Crown a seat at the boardroom table. Synergies and all that.

In the meantime, Crown had advised the sharemarket that it ''had lifted'' its stake in Echo from 4.9 per cent to 10 per cent. That was last Friday. One week later, three days after the stock exchange deadline, and there is still no disclosure that Crown owns a single non-derivative share.

This was perhaps Packer's only tactical error. Crown should have chucked another zero on the end of that ''10'' per cent. This was a derivative 10 per cent after all. It means what you want it to mean, and it settles when you want it to settle.

Why not this? ''Crown Limited announced today that it holds a 100 per cent interest in Echo Entertainment Group by way of a derivative. John Story and Larry Mullin, we draw your attention to our derivative. You are trespassing on our licensed premises. Please vacate the building immediately.''

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Meanwhile at the other blackjack table...:

THE Premier is resisting pressure to stand down two senior media advisers after the opposition asked the corruption watchdog to examine whether they used their positions to influence investigations involving the Star casino.

The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, has called on Barry O'Farrell immediately to stand down without pay his adviser, Peter Grimshaw, and Norm Lipson, an adviser to the Hospitality Minister, George Souris, while the Independent Commission Against Corruption decides if it will investigate.


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when gambling on gambling is a sure thing...

After the Singapore government gave the green light to build the world's two biggest casinos, tourism and gross domestic product have soared. Monthly tourist arrivals have increased by 20 per cent, GDP rose 14.5 per cent in 2010, and contributions from the two casinos in the first nine months was almost half the tourism GDP during the same period.

Eight years ago, Singapore and Australia each attracted about 5 million to 6 million tourists. Since Singapore introduced two casinos less than three years ago, tourist arrivals have jumped to 11 million, are and forecast to reach 17 million by 2015. However, Australian figures have not changed much.

Unless something is done, including getting the support of the government, tourist arrivals are expected to remain flat or go backwards as Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam plan integrated resort developments targeting Chinese visitors.

As Packer said last year: ''It's one thing if you want backpackers on $50 a day, but the market Australia should be aiming for is the affluent and rising middle-class Asian market. That is who Australia needs to be aiming for because we are too far from Europe and too far from America.''

Many of the destinations have become tired and old; the resorts were developed in the 1970s and '80s. And yet we are competing against huge developments in Macau and Singapore.

It is a lesson Packer believes Australia ignores at its peril.

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Throw Packer and his chips out of Barangaroo...

barry barangaroo .....

How visionary of Barry O'Farrell to give such a thumping endorsement to James Packer's plan for a casino at Barangaroo.

''I think it's an exciting proposal which could add extra life to Barangaroo, give Sydney another world-class hotel, generate jobs and boost tourism,'' he gushed on Monday.

Absolutely. And it would fill up that boring open space set aside for "civic, educational and recreational uses". Honestly, we have enough grass and trees in Sydney as it is. We don't need any more. As a Crown casino spokesman explained, the new complex would occupy only 2.8 hectares of the seven-hectare central site, leaving plenty of room for other activities. Just a quick fiddle on the drawing board and, bingo, we have Packer's thrilling new erection instead.

But let's not stop at a casino. Think big. If we want all these high-rolling tourists zooming our way from around the globe, Barangaroo should also offer a world-class brothel, an irresistible drawcard. I don't mean just your ordinary knock shop. There must be a glittering pleasure dome of the finest marble, glass, gold and onyx, whole floors of whores dedicated to fulfilling every conceivable sexual desire in sumptuous luxury.

This might be a new project for the soon to be ex-senator Mark Arbib to head. As everyone knows, Labor grandees like him traditionally end up on the Packer payroll.

This would be his chance to prove that he could actually organise a …

Mike Carlton

one licence for two casinos....


James Packer's Crown Ltd stepped up its campaign to build a six-star luxury hotel at Sydney's harbour development showpiece, Barangaroo, announcing an exclusive deal agreement this morning with the project's developer Lend Lease.
Crown said a VIP gaming facility would be necessary to provide the commercial underpinning for the project.Crown has sought approval from the NSW gambling regulator to lift its stake in rival casino operator, Echo Entertainment, from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.
Echo has an exclusive licence to operate a casino in NSW and Crown has proposed a joint venture between the two companies that would use Echo's licence to develop exclusive VIP gambling facilities at the proposed Barangaroo hotel.
The announcement comes a day after Crown announced plans to spend $568 million building a six-star hotel at its Perth casino. The deal with the West Australian Government also includes a boost its gambling facilities.
"My desire is for Crown to build the best hotel in the world at Barangaroo," Mr Packer said in a statement."Crown's record demonstrates we can deliver a centrepiece that will draw millions of tourists."

Exclusive deal
The agreement provides Crown with the right to work exclusively with Lend Lease for as long as 24 months, jointly developing a concept plan for the hotel resort which is expected to be located on a site to be agreed with the NSW Government on the north west corner of Barangaroo South, the company said.

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We're mugs, aren't we?   These guys are cleverer than poker chips, aren't they?... And Barrie O'Feral will bend over forward to accomodate, won't he?  See toon and story at top...


send in our chips expert, james...

Cyprus is to lift a ban on casinos as part of measures to counter the economic shock of a much larger than expected 60% raid on the savings of the island's most wealthy depositors.

President Nicos Anastasiades outlined a 12-point plan to rescue the troubled economy before travelling to Athens, where he was reported to be meeting the Greek prime minister to petition for €2bn in aid, despite Greece's own economic collapse.

The Cypriot bailout is the first eurozone rescue package to punish savers by forcing them to hand over a slice of their savings in broken banks. The sums are far higher than original estimates that Bank of Cyprus depositors would take a 30% or 40% hit. The conditions were imposed when Cyprus was told to find €5.8bn as a condition of a €10bn loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Anastasiades has braved the wrath of the influential Orthodox church by declaring that he will allow casinos to operate in Cyprus. Gambling has until now been legal only on the northern, Turkish side of the island.

The president's other initiatives, outlined in an interview with the newspaper Fileleftheros Sunday, include tax exemptions on business profits reinvested in Cyprus and encouraging homeowners to reduce rents.


See toon and story at top...

no done deal?....


The New South Wales Deputy Premier insists James Packer's plan for a new six-star hotel and casino at Barangaroo is not a done deal, despite the billionaire businessman unveiling potential designs for the project.

Three international architects have created competing designs for the hotel skyscraper, which would include an exclusive gaming room.

The New South Wales Government appointed an independent panel led by former Future Fund chairman David Murray to weigh up Mr Packer's plan against a rival bid from The Star casino, owned by Echo Entertainment, which aims to lure high-roller tourism to the city.

Only one proposal will be given the green light to proceed to the next stage of assessment.

Echo Entertainment's agreement limits NSW to only one casino license until 2019.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner says no decision has been made.

"James Packer is a confident businessman, he's putting everything into this proposal and he's got to take his best shot at it," Mr Stoner said.

Wouldn't it be cruel for the deal of one of the poor oppressed billionaires to fall through the cracks of Barangaroo... Even odds the deal is on... or in horse racing lingo: it's a cert... Is it not?... No "decision" has been made... 

Let's say here that as a casino goes for exclusive rich folks, one can see a LOT OF HOTEL ROOMS... It looks more like a HUGE hotel with a SMALL gambling annexe... I suppose the croupiers would be housed in-house in-style too...

Note that the land on which this GIANT phallus would stand is PUBLIC LAND FOR RECREATION...

See toon at top...


moving the goal-posts closer to the shootout...


James Packer’s Crown Ltd is selling its 10 per cent stake in rival Echo Entertainment, in a clear signal it is confident of gaining approval to operate its own casino in Sydney.
The sale of its stake to institutional investors via a bookbuild late today is priced at $3.20 a share, a 7 per cent discount to Echo’s closing price of $3.44. It values Crown’s stake at $264 million.
Crown’s sale of its stake in Echo suggests Mr Packer is confident he will gain final approval from the NSW government to build a $1 billion resort casino at Barangaroo in Sydney.

Crown has been seeking its own licence to operate its casino independently of Echo, which operates the Star in Sydney.

The stake in Echo had been viewed as an ‘‘insurance policy’’ for Crown to use to gain a foothold in the Sydney market if the government rejected its Barangaroo proposal.

The sale comes less than two week after Crown received approval from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to lift its stake in Echo from 10 to 23 per cent

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a Constantin Brancusi sculpture...


From Quentin Dempster

James Packer wants to build a casino in Sydney. But Echo Entertainment currently holds the exclusive casino licence which expires in 2019. The casino war is underway in New South Wales. Welcome to the Rum Corps world of NSW politics, writes ABC's Quentin Dempster.

James Packer is playing Premier Barry O'Farrell like a trout.

This state's famous way of doing business with powerful vested interests, evident from the spirituous liquor monopoly granted by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to the NSW Regiment way back in the early 1800s continues.

In an attempt to gain control, Lachlan Macquarie handed immense power and influence to the 'Rum Corps' which eventually subverted good governance.

James Packer is seeking to alienate public land claimed initially for a luxury hotel of 'six star' quality but made viable by VIP-only high-roller facilities for Chinese gamblers (no poker machines).

But as Packer organised an international design competition for invited architects it was clear the brief had changed. The winning iteration incorporates a massive podium which Packer's rival, Echo Entertainment, has publicly guesstimated at 10,000 square metres of gaming floor space, room for a 'casino on steroids'. As well the design incorporates up to 80 penthouse-style apartments ranging in price from $5 million to $40 million. All this is said to be necessary to make the $1 billion dollar-plus investment financially viable.

The casino wars come at a disturbing time for public confidence in the integrity of government.

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I may be wrong but I believe that Paul Keating — who made the suggestion of a Constantin Branscusi style building for Packer's casino project — was being sarcastic... It takes a few somersaults by one to grasp the extent of Keating's wit... Of course Constantin Branscusi is well known for his phallic symbolism or other symbols that some cynics could interpret as one's head in one's arse sculptures...


not a c... but a VIP gaming palace...


A bemusing sidelight during Barry O’Farrell’s casino announcement media conference yesterday was watching how hard the NSW premier worked to not call Crown’s Barangaroo casino a casino.

In the usual Australian tradition, Sydney ends up with a duopoly rather than a genuinely competitive environment. 

Time and again it was a “VIP gaming facility” – obviously something completely different. The next word game will be re-defining what “guarantee”, “limit” and “commitment” really mean.

Aside from the house winning, the one sure thing about James Packer’s Barangaroo “VIP gaming facility” is that what Sydney eventually gets from this chronically flawed process won’t be what David Murray’s committee outlined yesterday. Like the Tour de France, there’s big difference between winning stage three and the eventual outcome. All that really happened yesterday was Echo’s Star monopoly being bumped into the ditch.

The government’s grand announcement of a $1 billion state revenue guarantee, the higher and flat tax rate, the number and nature of tables and the size of the building itself all add up to just another negotiating position for Crown. Oh it sounds nice and feeds the chooks in Packer’s overwhelming media cheer squad, but there are many more stages yet to play out.

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See toon at top...


alleged secret casino proposal...

The competition regulator is investigating an alleged secret proposal by James Packer to keep his Crown casino empire out of Brisbane if the executives of Echo Entertainment, owner of the Star, agreed to let him into the Sydney market.

Central to the investigation is an alleged statement from Mr Packer that Crown would stay out of Queensland if Echo ''behaved'' itself ''vis-a-vis Sydney''.

An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission official said the investigators would look into potential breaches of competition and cartel law, following reports of a secret meeting between Mr Packer, who is the executive chairman of Crown, and Echo chairman John O'Neill, on Mr Packer's boat on Sydney Harbour in March this year.

Investigators at the ACCC began the inquiry after an article in The Australian Financial Review on Thursday, in which Mr O'Neill says Mr Packer said Crown would not bid for a casino in Brisbane - where Echo was hoping to expand - if the owners of the Star did not hinder his desire to build a luxury casino at Barangaroo.

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is nothing sacred ....

So, it has finally come to this.

Having selflessly devoted his entire life to providing Australians with a painless means of disposing of their ill-gotten wealth, this great benefactor of the people has become a victim of the dreaded ‘tall poppy syndrome’.

That the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) could think that poor baby James might have engaged in criminal anti-competitive conduct is surely as fanciful as the great unwashed suspecting that ‘Barangaroo Barry’ looks after the big end of town at their expense?

private casino plonked on public land...


A casino is set to operate at Barangaroo from November 2019 after the state government announced an agreement with James Packer’s Crown Resorts for VIP-only gambling at its proposed $1.3 billion hotel complex.
Premier Barry O’Farrell announced cabinet had struck an agreement with Crown on Monday night and said legislation for a second Sydney casino licence would be introduced to parliament this week.
While the government has entered into a "binding agreement" with Crown to develop the "VIP restricted gaming facility" at Barangaroo, approvals are still needed before the project can proceed. The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority will need to consider if Mr Packer’s company Crown is a suitable casino operator and the proposed six-star hotel resort will need planning approval.

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See toon at top... Planning approval? Piece of cake... Suitable to run a disorderly house of drunkards?... If good enough to run in Melbourne, good enough to run in this blue city... Restricted VIP facility? Means that you and me cannot bet two buck on the roulette... We won't even be able to enter the premises without showing we own a billion dollar pipeline to a billion dollar stack...
And talk of a corrupt way to place the cart before the horse! The legislation is not approved yet and the deal is signed off... Idiots.


win some, loose some...


Billionaire businessman James Packer has opened up on the personal cost of his success, saying that despite running a casino empire that stretches across Australia and Asia, and embarking on a new film production venture his home life is "a disaster".

In an interview with US business magazine Forbes, to mark the magazine's list of global billionaires, in which the Crown Resorts chairman is ranked 208th with wealth of $US6.5 billion, Mr Packer said he had made "a bunch of mistakes in my life."

"Business is good right now, but now my personal life is a disaster," he told the magazine.

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See toon and stories from top...


It was rubbish then and is rubbish that stinks now...

One of the more ridiculous swifties pulled on a gullible government this decade was that it was necessary to give James Packer a casino licence to get a flash hotel built on Sydney's Barangaroo strip.

Or maybe the government was just happy to go along with the ruse for its own purposes.

Proof positive of the nonsense lies in the latest hotel occupancy figures which show Sydney has overtaken Perth to be the hardest city in Australia in which to find an affordable room – or any room at all on occasion. 

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See toon at top and read articles from there...

the cost of education in inner city...


The New South Wales Government has abandoned a plan to build a new school at Ultimo in inner Sydney on a council-owned site, saying the remediation would cost too much.

But residents and the Mayor of Sydney said the school was desperately needed in an area with the highest density in Australia.

For 18 months, the Government has been working on plans for the school, to be built on Wattle Street, suitable for 1,000 students and including a childcare centre.

The property was once an industrial site, so it requires remediation works.

The Government said it had discovered those remediation works would cost $50 million - double the initial estimate.

"Full remediation of the Wattle, Jones and Fig streets site, plus costs for site acquisition and construction of a new Ultimo Public School would cost more than $177 million, as compared with $15 million to $30 million to build a standard primary school," the Education Department said a statement.


Gus: Please note that the remediation of the Barangaroo site (see above) would have cost far more than 50 millions... But construction started without proper "remediation" of the site, which I have heard some expert say could have taken 30 years... Why don't someone ask James Packer to fork out the cash for remediation of the school site — tax exempt of course... A gift to the City. Thank you...


a rich whinging brat...

Only days before the end of 2015, judges have received what's sure to be the winning Whinge of the Year entry: James Packer having a big moan that, just for a change, the New South Wales Government isn't rolling over and giving him exactly what he wants as soon as he wants it.

While rumours swirl that the expatriate casino billionaire is planning to take Crown private, Packer has given an interview that seems to be primarily about pressuring bureaucrats to hurry up and approve the modifications he wants for his Sydney casino.

That, of course, is the casino that's not meant to be called a casino – it's officially a "VIP gaming facility". Oh please.

Apparently it doesn't matter that there are some curious aspects about the two development approvals filed for the casino and that Crown's builder, Lend Lease, seems to have trouble replying to Department of Planning and Environment questions.

Crown has form with its developments and state governments, changing and modifying plans and bending governments to its will. But Packer is unhappy that the Barangaroo approvals are taking time to get through the system.

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See toon at top...

publica spatium ludis et footus venatus...

The new motto for the New South Wales government is: publica spatium ludis et footus venatus. in short this means that public spaces shall be dedicated to gambling and the footy in its various codes.


And by the way:


James Packer's Crown Casino is to be built at Barangaroo in Sydney after the project was approved by the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission.

The NSW Government can now give it the green light for construction. 

It will now be built with some modifications to the original plan which will give more public space at the southern end of Barangaroo.

The casino will also be set back 30 metres from the harbour giving extra space for people to walk along the promenade at the western foreshore at the edge of the casino.


The commission said those changes meant "the public good has been given a more equal status with the private good".

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THE "PRIVATE GOOD" using "public land? Nutsos... Congrats James, you win... See toon at top...

I wonder what the poor people are doing today...


What, your lifestyle's not like this?

Leave it to Mariah Carey to have a decidedly diva-like solution to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Thanks to a tour rivaling her MTV Cribs episode that Mimi gave to Entertainment Tonight of the yacht she’s staying on this summer, Carey revealed that she and fiancé James Packer have their own vessels during their summer vacation.

“It is important to have his-and-hers everything,” she said.

Carey’s yacht is a 16-crew luxury liner named “Capri,” a 192-foot yacht that has two bars, a Jacuzzi, a gym, a library, and a private chef, as well as six staterooms. Packer, meanwhile, has the seventh largest privately owned yacht in the world, which costs $340,000 a week plus expenses. The yachts are anchored together off the coast of Italy.

Watch the full tour at:


Of course James' boat looks like a Supersized Russian spy-ship compared to Mariah's Capri white thingy.  I would be prepared to believe James has a nuke-sub as a tender. How gauche to have to ferry attending passengers in rubber duckies...

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going mental...

Billionaire James Packer has resigned as a director of Crown Resorts for mental health reasons.

He is "suffering from mental health issues," a spokesperson from Consolidated Press Holdings, another of Mr Packer's companies, confirmed.

"At this time he intends to step back from all commitments."

Crown's executive chairman John Alexander said in a statement: "We have appreciated James' contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down from his role as director at this time."

Earlier this month, Mr Packer sold more than $100 million worth of his shares in Crown Resorts, which owns the Crown casinos in Melbourne and Perth.

He remains the major shareholder of Crown, with a 47 per cent stake worth more than $4 billion.


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in the public interest?...

public interest?
Barangaroo tower greenlit

The Independent Planning Commission has given a controversial plan for a 30-storey tower and retail complex at Barangaroo the green light.

The City of Sydney Council had held reservations about the planned 104-metre building, which will include more than 200 residential apartments.

It said it had concerns about development including traffic and wind impacts, construction impacts and noise mitigation and parking provisions.

However, following a review, the commission said the $146 million project would go ahead with some design changes, saying it was in the public interest.


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Public interest? What has this to do with another private building crowding our shores? I see... without it it looks like the foreshore is missing a tooth and I would bet one dollar that this building was planned by the burghers (or buggers if you will) of this city a long time ago awaiting the right moment to release it "in the public interest"... The buildings get higher with Crown Casino being built daily at what I would say is a frenetic pace for concrete and glass with a twist... See below:



Barangaroo yesterday 3/10/19... (picture by Gus Leonisky)


Read from top. The public has no idea about its interest...

pies, mash and casino chips...

Billionaire James Packer and then-NSW premier Barry O'Farrell failed to reveal a private lunch at influential broadcaster Alan Jones's apartment as they became central players in the high-stakes battle to build Crown Sydney.

Key points:
  • Billionaire gambling tycoon James Packer first pitched the idea of Crown Casino in Sydney to then-NSW premier Barry O'Farrell over lunch at Alan Jones's apartment in 2012.

  • Neither disclosed the lunch when asked about the meetings they had with each other.

  • The former gaming regulator from the time described the project as a "political steamroller … with powerful friends."

Now Sydney's tallest building, the tower opened last year on land that was meant for a public park, but its gaming rooms remain closed after an inquiry deemed Crown unfit to hold a casino licence in NSW over money laundering and criminal links.

It was the lunch hosted by Jones in 2012 that paved the way for the $2 billion casino development on the prized edge of Sydney Harbour. The lunch meeting didn't become public for years.

A Four Corners investigation has found that both gambling tycoon James Packer and then-NSW premier Barry O'Farrell failed to disclose the lunch when asked about their meetings.

In February 2012, Mr Packer and Mr O'Farrell were brought together by Mr Jones inside his luxuriously appointed apartment in the building known as "The Toaster", which boasts uninterrupted views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Mr Packer had asked Jones to set up the meeting.

"He said he'd like to meet Barry O'Farrell, that was my recollection," Mr Jones said. "So, I just invited the premier to lunch and we had lunch here and they met and away it went."

Mr Jones said the catalyst for the meeting was that Mr Packer "had this vision for Sydney" — a luxury hotel, to be financially underpinned by a casino.

It was all to be housed in a new skyscraper at the prestigious waterfront development site Barangaroo, which was in the process of being transformed from a shipping container port into Sydney's flash new financial centre.

"He said he wanted something that would be a destination. And he said, 'Look, everyone knows the Opera House. Everyone knows the Harbour Bridge [but] we've got to do more than that'," Mr Jones recalled Mr Packer telling him at the time.

Mr Jones said it was an "unpretentious" lunch between the billionaire and the premier over some "pies and mash".

Mr Jones told Four Corners the proposition Mr Packer put to the NSW premier was in "general" terms but was about building a hotel and VIP casino at Barangaroo.

"In a very vague and general way … But he's always drawing things, so he had some diagrams and whatever, and showed Barry."

"Barry O'Farrell, as I remember, quite rightly indicated … everything's got to go through about 155,000 regulatory bodies so, Barry made the point that it wouldn't be all that easy, but he embraced the vision, if I could use that cliched word."

Mr Packer's pitch was for a "passport casino" aimed at wealthy international gamblers.

"He [Mr Packer] was concerned with the public perception that these things might have been a hive of gambling, and that would diminish the capacity of the ordinary battler to keep his money in his pocket," Mr Jones said.

"So there would only be people who are overseas people who'd come to the destination, who would use the casino."

"That also appealed to Barry O'Farrell. Barry was impressed by this, as the new premier and so on, that he was someone who was wanting to do something and I guess, sort of leave a legacy in a way."


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