Kerry Packer has scored a rare bureaucratic quinella, with a
British council approving a new casino and the Tasmanian government
moving a step closer to allowing the launch of controversial
betting exchange, Betfair, reports The Age. Cardiff Council in Wales announced yesterday that Aspers
– a joint venture between Packer’s private company Consolidated
Press Holdings and British casino operator Damian Aspinall – had
won the right to build and operate a casino as part of a $700
million village project.

The global focus is on the $25 billion bid by China National Offshore
Oil Corp for US company Unocal, but China’s rush to tie up access to
resources is under way in Australia as well, reports the Fin Review. There’s a coming wave of Chinese investors who will multiply many times over the $2.2 billion already injected into Australia.

Signs are continuing to emerge that the economy might be headed,
at worst, for a soft landing, with the latest batch of surveys
showing activity may be slowing but the overall picture is still
robust, says Leon Gettler in the Smage. The NAB June business conditions index released yesterday shows
that while business conditions edged down marginally, there were
surprising signs that domestic demand might be picking up.

GE is preparing an all-out assault on the $30
billion Australian credit card market, aiming to overtake the Big Four
banks and become the nation’s leading card issuer within a few years, reports The Australian. Also in The Oz, Australia’s biggest venture-capital player
CHAMP is days away from announcing it has raised a private equity fund
of between $900 million and $1 billion, according to private equity
sources.

On Wall Street, US stocks were mixed overnight as the S&P 500
flirted with its highest close in four years (up 2.77 points to 1,222) on a fresh spike in oil prices, but the Dow Jones

fell 5.83 points to 10,513. MarketWatch has a full report here.

Peter Fray

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