Echo chairman John O’Neill has told the Australian Financial Review the group could afford to build its new casino in Brisbane, and invest further in its Sydney operations.
The company has said it would invest heavily in Sydney, where its The Star casino is located in return for continued exclusive rights.
James Packer’s Crown has applied to build a second Sydney casino, and the NSW premier Barry O’Farrell has said there can only be one.
Recently, Echo picked out land for a new casino in Brisbane, and O’Neill has told the AFR the company can afford both.
“In terms of overlap, and are the capex [capital expenditure] requirements manageable if we get up on both? Yes, they are,” Mr O’Neill told the Financial Review.
“The business will be throwing off enough cash to accommodate both projects, particularly given it is probably likely that we would not turn a sod of earth in Brisbane for at least three years,” he said in the article.
Meanwhile, they might be rivals but James Packer recently won a long-awaited approval from gaming regulators to increase his stake in Echo from ten to 23%, which he applied to do in February last year, according to News Limited.
Former Future Fund chairman David Murray has been tasked with reviewing both operators’ proposals.
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