Plans unveiled for casino’s star turn

Star City will unveil its plan today to turn the ugly duckling of Australian casinos into a harbour-front entertainment and gaming complex worthy of global attention.

The 13-year-old complex, which was built with its rear to harbour, will be turned around as part of a proposed AUD 475 million makeover.

„For the first time, Star City will be facing the harbour and the city, and that will give us an advantage that no other casino in the world can match,“ said Walter Bugno, the chief executive of casinos at Tabcorp, which owns Star City.

Under the plan, a five-star hotel will be built on a vacant block at the rear of the site and there will be an expansion of dining options available, with 17 restaurants and 11 bars.

The existing Star Theatre will become a venue that can be used as a cinema as well as for concerts, fashion parades and live broadcasts.

The theatre redevelopment will also include a sports betting area. Last week Tabcorp announced a plan to open an online and phone bookmaking business, called Luxbet that would operate from the Northern Territory.

The development application, which goes on public display today, is also believed to contain a revised plan for an outdoor gaming area.

This year the casino was criticised after it sought the City of Sydney council’s approval to create Australia’s largest outdoor gambling zone as a means of recouping revenue lost after the introduction of indoor smoking bans. It is believed changes have been made to ensure it complies with the unenclosed space laws.

The application will require the approval of the NSW Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally, who announced a shortlist of companies for another large harbour-front development yesterday: the AUD 2.5 billion Barangaroo project.

The project, which will add at least 220,000 square metres of commercial space to east Darling Harbour, will be built by either Lend Lease and Westpac Corporation, Brookfield Multiplex or a consortium of Mirvac Projects, Leighton Properties, Nakheel PJSC and Macquarie Property Development and Finance. The winner will be announced in the middle of next year.