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Australia's Echo plans $1.4 bln casino investment, share slumps

Thursday, 7 Nov 2013 | 9:26 PM ET

SYDNEY, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Echo Entertainment Group Ltd unveiled plans on Friday to invest A$1.5 billion ($1.42 billion) in its casino business in Queensland state, but its share tumbled on investors' concerns over the cost.

Shares in Echo, which has been battling against bigger rival Crown Resorts Ltd's growing presence in the Australian gaming market, slumped 6.7 percent to A$2.38.

Echo was dealt a blow after Crown won government approval in July for a high roller room at its A$1 billion luxury hotel and residential development in Sydney.

That spelled the end of Echo's plans to spend A$1.1 billion on new luxury hotels and an expansion of its existing Star casino in the harbourside city.

Crown, owned by billionaire James Packer, has said it is interested in the Queensland government's plans for up to three mega new casinos in the state.

Echo said at its annual general meeting it planned to revamp its Jupiters Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast and the Treasury Casino in Brisbane.

($1 = 1.0581 Australian dollars)

(Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang, Editing By Jane Wardell and Simon Cameron-Moore)