James Packer is building a $13 billion luxury resort and casino in Las Vegas

Australian billionaire James Packer plans to open a new luxury resort, Alon Las Vegas, in 2018 after buying up 14 hectares in the desert gambling city.

The venture has been pegged as “the biggest leap” for the chairman of Crown Resorts Limited with the total spend tipped at more than $13 billion, according a report in The Age.

“No-one is building resorts from the ground up in Vegas at the moment,” John Restrepo, principal with Las Vegas consultancy RCG Economics, told Fairfax.

“That’s where the risk takers like Packer are making the biggest leap. They will essentially be the canaries in the coal mine. If these things go well the Nevada resorts might jump in, but if they struggle all bets are off.”

Packer’s previous forays into the gaming capital reportedly cost him $2 billion following the global financial crisis.

Despite this, the tycoon maintains that “you can’t be in the gaming industry and not have a special reverence for Las Vegas – that’s where it all began”.

“As we have built Crown Resorts into a thriving international company with successful casino ventures in Australia, Macau, and London, we’ve always kept our eye on Las Vegas.”

The casino, which will sit across from rival Wynn Resorts, will join Packer’s global gaming portfolio which includes Melbourne, Perth, London, Manila and Macau.

Packer’s $1.3 billion Barangaroo waterfront development in Sydney’s Pyrmont is due to open in 2019.

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