James Packer (Image: AAP/Jane Dempster)

Next Tuesday, when a smaller-than-normal gaggle of journalists will be locked up in Canberra reading all about a record-breaking 2020-21 federal budget deficit, an arguably more interesting spectacle will be unfolding in Sydney.

Unpredictable casino billionaire James Packer is scheduled to give evidence to the NSW Bergin inquiry, and based on what has been unfolding so far, it's going to be a fascinating couple of days.

The Packers, like their frenemies in the Murdoch camp, have long known the importance of staying on-side with governments, which begs the question as to how on earth Packer allowed the NSW government to unleash the legal dogs of war on his beloved Crown Resorts following a Nick McKenzie journalistic hit via 60 Minutes and the Nine newspapers.