By Colin Kruger –
Just days after receiving approval to build a $1.5 billion luxury hotel and casino at Sydney Harbour development Barangaroo, James Packer is making his most public pitch yet to build a $400 million casino resort in Sri Lanka.
In a speech to be delivered to delegates at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Colombo overnight – a conference being held ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting – Mr Packer said a luxury casino resort is a necessity if Sri Lanka is to achieve its potential to become ‘‘a leading tourist mecca for the rising middle class of India, China and the rest of Asia.’’
Mr Packer said Sri Lanka’s ‘‘ambitious’’ tourism targets are ‘‘only achievable with the right tourism infrastructure and attractions’’ and cited the success of Singapore in turning around its performance as a tourism destination with the development of two integrated casino resorts.
Mr Packer has added $3 billion to his personal wealth since July last year as shares of his casino operator, Crown Resorts, doubled in value. The main driver of this growth was investors recognising the success of his bet on Macau which has become a gambling mecca for mainland China.