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De Niro, Packer Casino Bill Approved In Barbuda

Proposed $250 Million Casino-Resort Gets Tax Incentive

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A proposed $250 million casino in Antigua and Barbuda from Australian billionaire casino developer James Packer and Hollywood movie star Robert De Niro cleared a major hurdle last week after being stuck in political gridlock.

The nation’s government approved the so-called Paradise Found bill, according to a report from the Guardian. The bill gives them certain incentives to build the casino-resort, which includes a 25-year tax holiday. The government has been worried that the project could be abandoned, which was the motivation for passing the bill to provide more incentives for Packer and De Niro to build the complex. The country wants to bring in more celebrity investments.

The casino will be at the 251-acre site of the The K Club Hotel, which closed in 2004. The proposed project also includes a new airport.

The bill drew some criticism from other lawmakers, who claimed that the bill altered the law too much and was too generous to the developers.

De Niro and Packer are already partners in De Niro’s restaurant and hotel company, Nobu, according to the Australian Business Review. Packer recently bought a 20-percent stake.

In addition to recently opening a new casino in Macau, Packer is also working toward a casino in Las Vegas, which would be his first property in Sin City. Packer, owner of Australia’s Crown Resorts, last year paid $260 million for a controlling stake in land that once hosted the New Frontier Hotel & Casino. The site is located across from Wynn Las Vegas.