The ambitious Crown Sydney casino complex is now being considered a ‘white elephant’ by experts as China seems to be showing less interest in carrying out financing the completion of the project. It has also dissuading its citizens from visiting Australia, a recent news bit has confirmed.
The still under construction $2.2billion massive casino complex on Sydney habour is looking like a bad investment plan as its biggest financer is pulling hands off its completion. This has been confirmed after reports came in that Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s warning to Chinese residents to “enhance their safety awareness and not to travel to Australia” due to the sudden spike of instances of racism led crime across the world.
However, one cannot deny that there may be Australian PM skirmish with the Chinese representative at play here. Last month, the Scott Morrison had indicated Australia’s intent to carry out an individual investigation over outbreak of the corona virus, something the Chinese counterparts did not take too well.
In Australia, cases of racism against Chinese business owners and students have seen a sudden increase. On the flipside, in China too, Australian barley farmers and beef producers were targeted after Morrison’s investigative assertions.
Gambling academics and city planners have all expressed concern over the future of Crown’s Sydney casino at Barangaroo as a result of all these interrelated events. Ironically, the iconic project has been surrounded by controversy and investigation since inception days. Firstly, it was controversially approved for the city’s second casino license in 2013 without going to tender. Secondly, it is already a part of a NSW high level inquiry even before it has seen completion. With super high stakes, the casino has plans to target VIP players at the 75-floor tower that will also include 82 luxury apartments and a six-star hotel, due to open in December, ahead of the casino’s opening in early 2021.
The casino was essentially depending on high rollers, to be admitted through personal invitations only. But with China retreating from the gambling market as of now, the future of this casino property looks uncertain. There are rumours that in order to get its profitability going, Crown might negotiate for a poker machine licence, or try to boost the number of luxury apartments – which start at $9.5m – as a way to restructure Barangaroo’s profitability.
According to Victor Dominello (responsible for liquor and gaming), the NSW minister that has been keenly watching the Crown’s development, “we are encouraged by Crown Sydney’s plans to open early next year. The facility is expected to directly employ over 2,000 staff once fully operational”.
Employment can be one point of advantage for the Australian government but other than that, the Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore, strongly feels that “gifting public foreshore land to a casino giant remains an outrageous betrayal of the community’s trust, and an abuse of power that places private profit ahead of the public interest.”
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