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Crown scraps Strip plans

Jun 10, 2008 7:04 PM


Staff & Wire Reports | Citing a global credit crunch, Australia-based Crown Casino Group has scrapped plans for a $5 billion resort/casino on the site of the old Wet 'n Wild water park on the Las Vegas Strip.

The project would have included the tallest casino in the world and given Crown president James Packer his first presence on the Strip, where his late father, Kerry Packer, was known as a gambling "whale" for his high-roller play.

"The recent upheavals in the world credit markets have made it increasingly difficult for Crown and its partners to develop a commercially viable project, on what remains an attractive location on the Las Vegas Strip, said Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie.

The project, Crown Las Vegas, was a joint venture with private equity firm York Capital Management and Texas property developer Chris Milam.

Crown paid $44 million for the option to buy the old Wet 'n Wild site for $475 million.

Despite canning the project, Crown nonetheless has a significant presence in Nevada gaming. It last year purchased a 4.9 percent stake in Station Casinos and a 2.5 percent holding in Harrah's Entertainment.

More recently, it purchased Cannery Casino Resorts for $2 billion, which includes three Las Vegas casinos and a Pittsburgh racetrack.

The company also owns casinos in Macau and Great Britain.

Crown was formed a year ago with the demerger of Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd., the media giant developed by Kerry Packer.