Crown Resorts is going through a number of changes and there are rumors that one of its international projects, namely the Alon Casino Resort in Las Vegas might be cancelled.
The project has been close to the heart of its ex-chairman and billionaire James Packer who recently stepped down and also reduced his shares in the company with a recent sale.
However, Andrew Pascal, the chief executive officer of the $2 billion Alon Casino Resort project in Las Vegas has denied reports that the project has been stalled indefinitely or put on hold due to a lack of financing.
In a statement, Pascal said,
“The project hasn’t been suspended and the financing is complicated because it’s a multibillion-dollar greenfield development.”
Pascal acknowledged that the slow pace of progress in financing has delayed the project, but clarified that the pre-design and design phases were still under process. No construction or development work has been started at the site so far.
The Alon resort will be developed on the site of the erstwhile Frontier casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Pascal along with Crown Gaming and private equity firm Oaktree Capital bought the site together in 2014 for $260 million. Spread across 35 acres the resort is expected to have two towers that will house a total of 1,100 hotel rooms.
Pascal stated that the recent sale of Crown Gaming shares by James Packer has not affected the Las Vegas project in anyway, although Packer is a key financier. Packer has been reportedly struggling to raise the $1 billion debt required for the project. Earlier this week Consolidated Press Holdings Pty, the company Packer uses for his private investments sold around 35 million shares of Crown Resorts Ltd at A$12.80 per share. The sale disposed of 4.8 percent Packer’s share percentage in Crown Resorts and reduced his ownership to around
48 percent. Even with the reduced share percentage, Consolidated Press is still the largest shareholder in the company.
Consolidated Press filed a report with the Australian stock exchange to declare the sale and stated that the sell-off was a part of its capital and financial management strategy. Consolidated Press added that the company supported the proposed plans of Crown which included dividing its domestic and international business interests and going in for an IPO.
The disposal of shares in Crown Resorts by Packer comes just months after he sold part of his stake in the Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd venture which brought him around $2 billion. Packer is reported to have paid his sister Gretel Packer A$1.25 billion in 2015 as part of a settlement agreement.