Packer wins UK casino contract - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Media magnate Kerry Packer has won the right to operate a proposed casino complex in Wales, after local officials were impressed by the way he runs casinos in Australia.

The Cardiff casino will be part of a $1.65 billion sports village project in the city and include an ice rink as well as a 4000 seat arena, waterfront bars and restaurants.

After a year-long tender process, Cardiff Council has chosen one of Mr Packers companies, Aspers, to operate the proposed casino.

Aspers is a joint venture between the Packer family and Britains Aspinall family and already has interests in a number of casino developments in Britain.

Mr Packer is also behind Australian media and gambling company Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd, which owns Melbournes Crown Casino and Perths Burswood casino.

Cardiff Council said Aspers was chosen over rival Ameristar after local officials visited casinos linked to both companies in Australia and the United States.

"We looked very carefully at the social and economic impact of similar casinos abroad and felt reassured that both casino operators bidding for Cardiff would provide good quality jobs, training, strict regulation and wider community benefits for people living nearby," said Cardiff Council Leader Rodney Berman. However, the casino is yet to receive an official go-ahead by the British government, with Cardiff still waiting for Wales to be granted a regional casino licence.

The casino and sports village complex is aimed at revitalising Cardiff and providing a major boost to investment, creating new jobs and raising the citys international profile.

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