The Star Vs Barangaroo: (Legal) Punches Thrown

The next battle in the so-called ‘Casino Wars’ is upon us.

Echo Entertainment, who own The Star casino, have taken aim at Barangaroo South by lodging a legal challenge to the NSW Planning Department that calls into question the environmental impact of Barangaroo’s creeping expansion in size.

The James Packer-owned casino, which is swiftly but surely taking over the north end of the Sydney skyline, has a new concept plan that would see its height leap from 168 metres to 275 metres, and an increase in gross floor area by 7.4 percent.

The submission from Echo Entertainment also calls into question what everybody else was thinking: why was James Packer granted a casino license before the concept plan application was considered?
[eyes roll out of head]

As well as the bleeding obvious, it also questions if NSW liquor and gambling authorities, the Health Department, and the Department of Community Services should have been consulted before any of this began.

The Sydney Observatory has made their own submission to the revised concept plan for Barangaroo South, pointing out that two Lend Lease towers will block out the stars, thank you very much.

Rose Hiscock, director at the Museum of Applied Arts and Science, said in the submission that the towers will limit two nightly “guided astronomy viewings”, which sounds like the greatest thing you’ve never bothered to do in Sydney. Better get in quick – if the new concept plans at Barangaroo South go ahead, you’ll be missing out on 18% of the first guided tour, and 21% of the second. More buildings = more light pollution = less opportunity to gaze at the celestial heavens and ponder the meaning of life, man.

Coming in to swing for his mate James Packer is Rowen Craigie, CEO for Crown Casinos (of which James Packer is chairman and biggest shareholder). “I consider this a blatant misuse of the planning process by the Star casino to try and protect their existing monopoly and delay much-needed competition into Sydney’s VIP gaming market,” he said in a statement.

Look, he’s got a fair point – you kind of have to agree that The Star would have the most to gain from Barangaroo being scrapped entirely.

We’ll leave you to make your own judgement as to whether Sydney is gagging for “much-needed competition” in the form of ANOTHER casino.

In the meantime, the ball is now in Packer’s luxury court to respond.

via Financial Review and SMH.
Photo by Lucas Dawson via Getty.