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Australian Companies Betting on U.K. Expansion

26 March 2002

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the (Australia) Age.com: "The British Government was due last night to endorse deregulation of the country's gaming industry, paving the way for Australian operators including Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd and Tabcorp to set up resort-style casinos.

"…These changes would place the British gaming industry on a par with its US and Australian counterparts and provide a lucrative expansion opportunity for international players.

"Keen to build on the success of its Crown Casino, PBL has been investigating casino acquisitions in Britain following the Budd report. Star City owner Tabcorp has also been assessing prospects.

"…If legislation needs to be changed before new casino licences can be issued, it could be three years before international operators can apply for a licence.

"Rather than wait, they are more likely to team up with a regional operator. Through a joint venture the companies would redevelop the property to resemble a Crown or a Star City, or they could build a property from scratch and transfer the casino licence.

"…Instead of buying a direct stake in an existing casino, they may strike revenue-sharing deals. PBL has said it is able to fund an acquisition up to $1 billion.

"…The deregulation of the market is expected to be a boon for poker machine manufacturers.

"…Aristocrat Leisure has sent its sales and marketing chief, Gavin Isaacs, to Britain to establish an office. Aristocrat will have to compete for sales with the US company IGT, the largest manufacturer in the world."

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