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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