James Packer and Robert De Niro

James Packer and Robert De Niro are already good friends and now they are looking to establish a deep business relationship in Barbuda. (Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

Robert De Niro and James Packer look likely to go ahead with a multi-million dollar casino project in the Caribbean.

The Aussie gambling giant and Hollywood legend are good pals. And though the secretive mogul hasn’t outlined detailed plans for the new casino resort on Barbuda, De Niro wasted no time in confirming the plans in an interview with Forbes.

James Packer and Robert De Niro already enjoy a friendship and a business partnership through the Nobu restaurant chain. Nobu has branches in several of Packer’s casinos such as Crown Perth and Crown Casino Melbourne.

You may remember we reported a few months ago that Packer was to use the Caribbean island of Barbuda to tie the knot with his fiancée, Mariah Carey. The paradise island is an ideal choice for a new resort, with De Niro claiming he has visited the island since his twenties.

Luxury Marina And Casino To Dominate Island Resort

The planned Paradise Found hotel-casino resort will feature a luxury marina housing yachts of the rich and famous, plus a complex made up of villas and holiday cottages. Each cottage will come with a private pool as standard. Moorings will also be installed at Princess Diana Beach, named after one of the island’s most famous former visitors.

Paradise Found seems to have the support of the local government, and a petition was launched recently for locals to sign who wanted the project to go ahead. The development has run into problems, with legal challenges likely based on how the project was given the green light. However, over 300 have signed a pro-Paradise Found petition, local media is reporting.

Antigua and Barbuda’s opposition party, the United Progressive Party, is skeptical about the benefits to local island residents. On the face of it, the $6 million (AUD 9 million) fee for a 198-year lease on around 500 acres of land is a drop in the Pacific Ocean for the multi-millionaire pair.

Packer Enjoys Island Hospitality

James Packer might be back in Barbuda to scope out his new development sooner than he thought. He is set to marry the singer, Mariah Carey, on the tropical island this summer. However, some Aussie reports suggest the wedding is on hold while the US singer completes a European tour.

Silly season is well under way in the media over what will be appearing at the celebrity wedding. The UK Daily Mail suggests Carey has demanded a ‘Noah’s Ark’ filled with animals to appear at the ceremony. White tigers and “albino elephants” are among the alleged demands. Whether the requests are just an elaborate joke to promote Carey’s fly-on-the-wall documentary, Mariah’s World, remains to be seen.

Marginally more likely is a report that Packer and Carey will enjoy “his and hers” yachts to arrive at the ceremony in style. For the singer, a liner called “Capri” will be used, which comes equipped with a Jacuzzi and private chef. It’s not known whether Packer’s yacht will come equipped with its own casino.

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