Crown Casino Burswood Casino Crown Limited James Packer Politics Perth Melbourne Gaming
James Packer, chairman of casino owner Crown, is ramping up his Australian casino revamps and developments.
Billionaire James Packer has a love affair with Perth and he is putting his money where his heart is.
It is known among his tight-knit group of Perth mates - Andrew Forrest, Adam Rankin-Wilson and John Poynton - that he admires the "can do" attitude that is alive and well in the WA business sector.
Mr Packer can also relax in Perth in a way the casino and media mogul cannot in the Eastern States, where he is the focus of unrelenting media scrutiny.
All this, and the opening of two mega-casinos in Singapore in the past 18 months, are behind his extraordinary levels of investment in the ageing Burswood Entertainment Complex.
It is an investment program that will end up costing the Crown chairman upward of half a billion dollars and includes brand name restaurants, an Italian-built super-yacht for high rollers and VVIPs, a new high-roller gaming facility and two floors of renovated suites at the Intercontinental Hotel.
The super yacht, the new rooms and the VVIP high roller facilities are all badged "Infinity", a sub-brand which directly targets the big international punters.
But it doesn't end there.
The main gaming floor has also been revamped with new food outlets and early next year the casino will expand into new gaming areas and a new gastro pub, where once the circular driveway wound past the casino, hotel and convention and theatre venues.
Also next year, star Sydney chef Guillaume Brahami will open Bistro Guillaume at Burswood, the fun and casual offshoot of his classy Sydney Opera House flagship restaurant, Guillaume at Bennelong.
He will be joining Neil Perry's Rockpool, Nobu and the Modo Mio, the complex's high-end Italian restaurant, all opened in the past 12 months.
Then there's that pool: Hollywood meets Miami, meets unalloyed glamour and the two VVIP mansions that will cost a cool $25 million for the pair.
Currently under construction, the first high roller can expect to slip between the mansions' Egyptian cotton sheets early next year.
They will be for the exclusive use of the highest of the high rollers, many of whom will be flown to Burwood in Mr Packer's Gulfstream V business jet to enjoy the home-away-from-home luxury of the two massive houses abutting the new pool area.
If everything goes according to plan, the Packer-isation of Burswood will lure back the "whales", big Asian punters, who jumped ship to gamble at Singapore's spectacular Marina Bay Sands Casino and Genting International's Sentosa Island Casino resort.
With strong rumours that Crown is also considering building a six-star hotel at Burswood in the mould of Melbourne's super-luxury Crown Towers Hotel, the spending is not set to stop anytime soon.
And the icing on the cake?
Burswood management will not confirm it, but rumours persist that the entire complex will be re-badged Crown, aligning the complex with the superior, luxury brand values of Packer's Melbourne operation.
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