When James Packer succeeded his late father Kerry as chief of Australian conglomerate Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) in December, it was expected that he would put his own stamp on the company by taking it not only further into the gaming industry, but also farther offshore. Under the senior Packer, PBL was focused strongly on the core media industries which had always been the company's - and the family's - bread and butter, and it was also focused firmly on Australia. While Kerry Packer was famous around the world as a high-rolling gambler, regularly dropping millions on tables from Las Vegas to Monaco, his son is less concerned with beating the house, and more concerned with owning it. Yesterday's deal for PBL and partner Melco International Development to pay A$900 million ($5.2 billion) to Wynn Resorts for a sub-licence to own casinos in Macau is proof of the direction PBL is taking under the new heir. However, Marcus Padley, an analyst at stockbroker Tolhurst Noall in Melbourne, said he believed that although James Packer had been credited with the new gaming strategy, he believed Kerry Packer was involved right up to his death. 'I think you see with this deal that Kerry Packer was there, almost on his deathbed, driving strategy and inking this deal and this new strategy,' Mr Padley said. 'It shows a closeness between father and son, but also a realisation from them that after being involved with Asian high rollers at their Australian casinos, it made sense for them to become involved in Asia itself. 'And it shows us too that while there was a question mark that James was up to it in terms of continuing to build the business, he is definitely not flailing about in the dark wondering what to do now that his father is gone.' After striking an earlier joint-venture deal to build two casinos on Macau's Cotai Strip, yesterday's deal sees PBL further commit to Macau and start to achieve some a bigger presence in the Asian gaming industry. And importantly, it will move from being an investor in Macau to being an operator. Although PBL pulled out of a bid with Melco to develop Singapore's first casino, James Packer has now shown his hand and the market likes it, pushing the company's shares 2.3 per cent higher yesterday to their highest level since December 2004. PBL made its first foray into gaming in 1999, with the acquisition of Melbourne's Crown Casino, a name which has since been used as the company's gaming brand in Macau, Crown Macau. This was followed by stakes in the Burswood International Resort Casino in Perth, which eventually became a PBL subsidiary in 2004, the same year the company formed its joint venture with Melco for developing gaming assets in Asia. This was not PBL's first play for Macau. The firm was passed over in 2002 when three new gaming concessions were awarded.