The Courier-Mail

Gent­ing HK wins NSW ap­proval in Echo stake

- TREVOR CHAP­PELL

THE NSW gam­ing reg­u­la­tor has granted per­mis­sion to Gent­ing Hong Kong to lift its stake in casino op­er­a­tor Echo En­ter­tain­ment to up to 23 per cent.

But Gent­ing HK still needs ap­provals from Queens­land to lift its Echo stake, and said it has not yet made a de­ci­sion on its in­vest­ment.

Gent­ing HK, a leisure, en­ter­tain­ment and hos­pi­tal­ity group, holds a 6.6 per cent stake in Echo, the op­er­a­tor of The Star in Syd­ney, Bris­bane’s Trea­sury Casino and Jupiters on the Gold Coast.

Echo is also de­vel­op­ing a new casino-re­sort and residentia­l precinct at Queen’s Wharf in Bris­bane. The com­pany’s con­sti­tu­tion re­stricts in­di­vid­u­als from hav­ing a vot­ing power of more than 10 per cent, un­less per­mis­sion is granted by NSW and Queens­land gam­ing author­i­ties.

The NSW In­de­pen­dent Liquor and Gam­ing Au­thor­ity con­sid­ered Gent­ing HK’s ap­pli­ca­tion for three years be­fore giv­ing ap­proval, and said the Asian com­pany would be­come “close as­so­ci­ates” of The Star if its stake were to grow.

The NSW Gam­ing Au­thor­ity said its de­ci­sion was held up by de­lays in Gent­ing HK pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to the au­thor­ity, and Gent­ing HK’s sig­nif­i­cant new in­vest­ments in ju­ris­dic­tions where the au­thor­ity had lit­tle back­ground knowl­edge. Gent­ing HK’s busi­nesses in­clude Star Cruises in the Asia-Pa­cific, Crys­tal Cruises, Re­sorts World Manila, and a stake in Nor­we­gian Cruise Line.

Echo re­cently an­nounced it would change its name to The Star En­ter­tain­ment Group in a move that will see its casi­nos in Bris­bane and the Gold Coast re­branded. The com­pany’s Trea­sury and Jupiters Casi­nos will be re­branded as The Star, Bris­bane and The Star, Gold Coast, align­ing them with the com­pany’s flag­ship Syd­ney casino. Shares in Echo closed 10 up at $4.74.

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