Crown Casino Plays Restaurant And Hotel Card, by Greg Tingle - 22nd April 2010

Crown Casino king James Packer and his 'World Of Entertainment' empire have been telling folks that they're in the tourism, lifestyle and entertainment business for a few years now. Tonight, Mr Packer and Billionaire Inc get to prove their point once again, with even Australian politicians on hand, and of course a bush tucker bag of celebs.

Media Man and Gambling911 probe the situation and learn that indeed Packer is transforming the Crown experience to world class levels all the way.

Packer's been hitting the phones again. Not for GenerationOne on this occasion, but for his own in-house baby... the Crown Metropol.

Tonight's the night, and there's no missing this one...TV chef celeb Gordon Ramsay and Victorian Premier John Brumby will join Packer for the grand opening of Crown's third luxury hotel in Melbourne.

The red carpet event kicks off at 5.30pm, and those that can't attend (most of us), can check out the Fairfax Media and News Limited websites more more info. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald are tipped to get some snazzy multimedia and shots from the powers that be at Packer's Crown.

The Crown Metropol is estimated to have cost $300 million, almost pocket change for 'Our James', based of the revenues he's pulling in from Crown Macau, Burswood and other enterprises.

The hotel is going to play home for Ramsay's premier Aussie restaurant maze and maze Grill, and rumours of a reality TV show are circulating.

Ramsay is having a hard time living town his verbal war of words with A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw at last year's Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show. Just get a few beers and wines in ya Ramsay, you'll be right (we hope), or it might be the plastic handcuff treatment for you... just kidding, we think. Ramsey, one of the Burswood bouncers hurt the arm of a patron recently and it became a legal affair, so you've be forewarned. Once bitten, twice shy, or maybe not?

Other celebs pitched to be at tonight's gig include Eddie and Carla McGuire, Anthony Pratt, Neil Perry, Deborah Hutton, and Shane Warne (888 Poker Twitter "Nut") and wife Simone.

A cocktail party will following the official opening, and that's when the real fun begins. Media insiders are almost hoping for a GenerationOne "sponsored" plastic handcuff battle royal... aw well, we can always hope. Footballers, cricket legends and poker players will be well aware that the media is just waiting to pounce on them if the drinks and whatever get too much, but it's a wait and see situation. There's also versions of "eyes in the sky", so not much will be missed.

The venue comprises of a massive 658 rooms, a sky-high residential day spa and a rooftop bar offering 180-degree views of Melbourne's skyline. Plenty of scope to look out for 'Underbelly' action (if its not already happening on the premises).

Crown's hoping to lure in some 250,000 guests in its virgin year, and given many wear ready to write off Packer for broke a few years ago, don't bet against this man. As Kerry Packer famously said, "I'll toss you for it".

Sydney's Star City Casino looses tonight's casino battle for media, PR, dolphins and whale VIP's, but keep those warheads and Gulfsteam jets warmed up. There's always tomorrow.

So punters, are you ready to "Wear The Crown", as the tag line says?

Stay glued to Gambling911, and we will forgive you on this occasion if you slip on over to The Age, News Limited and Media Man websites at around 6pm for some smashing highlights. Cheers, and have a drink for me.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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