Australia's Crown surges 6 pct, Echo falls 4.5 percent on casino decision

SYDNEY, July 5 Thu Jul 4, 2013 8:15pm EDT

SYDNEY, July 5 (Reuters) - Shares in Australia's Crown Ltd surged as much as 6 percent in early trade on Friday, a day after it won conditional government approval for a VIP gaming room at its luxury hotel development in Sydney.

Shares in rival casino operator Echo Entertainment Group Ltd , which will lose its exclusive gaming licence in Sydney as a result of the decision, slumped around 4.5 percent.

The New South Wales state government, which will now discuss a binding agreement with Crown, said it wanted to boost competition and increase Sydney's share of the booming Asian gambling market.

Crown shares were at A$12.87 while Echo shares were at A$2.79 at 0010 GMT. (Reporting by Jane Wardell; Additional reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Ryan Woo)

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