(Repeats story from late Friday; no change to text)
SYDNEY May 10 Crown Ltd, the
Australian casino company controlled by billionaire James
Packer, has won regulatory approval to increase its 10 percent
stake in rival Echo Entertainment Group, the operator
of Sydney's sole casino.
Echo has been courted by both Crown and companies associated
with Malaysian gaming giant Genting Bhd because it has
the rights until 2019 to operate the only casino in Sydney,
which is attracting more and more Asian gamblers.
Crown, which had been seeking approval to raise its stake to
25 percent, said the New South Wales Independent Liquor and
Gaming Authority had granted approval to increase its stake in
Echo up to 23 percent. At today's prices, the 13 percent
increase could cost about A$386 million ($393.16 million).
Crown is planning to build a high-roller casino as part of a
$1 billion development in Sydney, a move Echo is contesting.
Genting, though Genting Singapore PLC,
unexpectedly cut its stake in Echo last September, but still
owns shares through its Genting Hong Kong Ltd unit.
Genting has also applied to increase its stake above 10
($1 = 0.9818 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Matt Driskill)