The media war between Australian casino operators Crown Ltd. and Echo Entertainment has prompted New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell to tell both companies to “take a cold shower.” Crown and Echo are locked in a Highlander-style ‘there can be only one’ competition for a new Sydney casino. Crown aims to build a $1b VIP-focused casino in the Barangaroo development while Echo hopes to expand The Star casino into a full-fledged integrated resort if NSW will extend Echo’s Sydney monopoly past 2019.
Echo has been running full-page ads in the major dailies rubbishing Crown’s proposal, a campaign O’Farrell described as Echo “absolutely wasting their money.” The Australian Financial Review quoted O’Farrell saying the two companies should chill out and allow the committee tasked with vetting the rival proposals to do its job.
Easier said than done, as Echo can’t seem to keep its name out of the papers. On Tuesday, Echo’s board of directors publicly backed CEO John Redmond after reports emerged that he’d passed out drunk in The Star’s Sokyo Lounge in January. Echo said NSW regulators had looked into the incident and decided to believe Redmond’s assertion that he was simply tired after an overseas flight earlier that day. Echo released a statement saying it considered reports of the allegation to be “part of a cheap smear campaign that has not come unexpectedly and is likely to intensify.”
In that case, the conspiracy theorists will have a ball with this week’s other headline, in which Joel Madden, singer for pop-punk act Good Charlotte and current host of Australian television’s version of The Voice, gets turfed from his suite at The Star after the maid finds his stash of reefer and rats him out. The NSW police refused to press charges on the mammoth bust – five whole grams – and Madden took to his Tumblr account to proclaim he hoped he hadn’t caused “too much drama for everyone.”
Notwithstanding his contrition, Madden was evicted from his suite by anxious Echo execs, who claimed it was company policy not to have any addicts – at least, not the druggy kind – hanging around their premises. Echo are now likely scouring NSA data to determine whether Madden was in constant communication with Crown execs the entire time their fiendish plot was afoot. Tune in tomorrow when Crown releases a YouTube video purporting to show Redmond behind the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, after which Echo will claim it has proof that it was Crown boss James Packer – not a dingo – that ate that couple’s baby.