NSW casino control authorities have knocked on the head rumours that James Packer has plans to build a casino in the ritzy and prestigious Sydney harbourside suburb of Double Bay.
Double Bay businesses have been abuzz in recent weeks with talk that casino magnate Packer has been talking about acquiring the old Ritz Hotel with a view to fixing it up and putting a casino on the site at a future date.
But the State Government was quick to scotch the rumours.
A spokeswoman said yesterday that legislation prohibited establishment of a second casino in NSW for at least 10 years, adding NSW "is a one-casino state". She said there was "one licence to be had" and Tabcorp had recently renewed it.
Tabcorp has a 12-year licence on Star City. It was renewed in October, 2007 and has another 10 years to run until its expiry.
According to the Casino Control Act of 1992, the business of gambling in NSW will be kept in check with licensing restrictions preventing the operation of a second casino.
Like his father, Packer has long had designs on getting a casino licence in NSW.
But the licensing restrictions mean that he will either have to apply for the existing licence now held by Tabcorp or lobby the Government to make a second licence available.
Kerry Packer and a consortium spent a small fortune bidding for the first casino licence but lost out to the Showboat group in 1994. It is a dream James still hopes to realise, say sources.
In the meantime, the Government has approved expansion plans for Star City - but poker-machine numbers will remain unchanged. (Credit: News Limited, Wires, Google News)
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