Crown gets green light to open Sydney casino
Crown Resorts has received a conditional licence to allow gambling at its Barangaroo casino just days before shareholders, including James Packer, pocket a multibillion dollar payout from the gambling giant’s new owners.
“After more than one year’s work with Crown, the Authority is pleased to have reached a stage where Crown can open its casino operations on a conditional basis,” NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) chairman Philip Crawford, said.
Crown has been given a conditional licence to open its Sydney casino.Credit:Peter Rae
“Given the need to observe the changes in operation as well as ensure changes are embedded in the business, the Authority will consider approval of Crown’s suitability until the end of the conditional gaming period, which could run between 18 months and two years.”
Crown’s casino licence for Barangaroo was suspended in late 2020 amid the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s damning public inquiry into its operations, which found Crown was unfit to operate.
The inquiry’s report, released in February last year, found Crown needed a management overhaul if it ever wanted to hold a casino licence, and the state’s gambling regulator should reconsider Packer’s involvement.
It said that it was obvious that Packer, as a 36 per cent shareholder in Crown, exercised the “real power” which had “disastrous consequences for the company”.
It also called on NSW to establish the Independent Casino Commission, a “dedicated, stand-alone, specialist casino regulator with the necessary framework to meet the extant and emerging risks for gaming and casinos”.
The ILGA has already approved Blackstone’s $8.9 billion acquisition of Crown which settles on Friday, having received probity approval from all of the states in which Crown operates.
Packer will receive a $3.3 billion payday from Blackstone.
More than a decade has passed since James Packer started a campaign to build what was then described as a VIP gambling room inside a luxury hotel on Sydney Harbour.
More to come
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