Crown Casino won’t invest in Philippines

Casino operator Crown Ltd has abandoned plans to invest in a casino project in the Philippines due to rising borrowing costs.

Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie said on Wednesday that global credit crunch made it harder to develop projects needing significant capital.

„The recent and ongoing events in world credit markets have made it very difficult for gaming operators to develop commercially viable casino entertainment projects where those projects require significant external debt funding,“ he said.

Crown had considered partnering with Bloombury Investments Ltd in the casino project.

„After further review, Crown has determined not to participate in Bloombury’s proposal or any other proposal to develop an integrated casino-entertainment complex in Manila Bay,“ Mr Craigie said.

The Philippines project is worth about USD 1.5 billion (AUD 1.55 billion) and Bloombury is on of four firms seeking new casino licences in the country.

Crown, in its previously incarnation as part of the Packer family’s Publishing and Broadcasting group, had been in talks about a potential investment since last year.

Crown earlier this month denied reports it was interested in acquiring United States casino operator Ameristar Casinos.

The company said it had no discussions with Ameristar.

Ameristar has eight casinos in the US.

Crown shares closed up 33 cents to USD 8.23 on Wednesday, in an overall stronger market.