Crown not suitable to hold licence for Sydney casino, inquiry finds
A public inquiry into Crown Resorts has found that the gambling giant is not a suitable company to hold the licence for its new casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo.
The finding by former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin is contained in her almost 800-page final report released on Tuesday afternoon following an 18-month probe into the James Packer-backed group.
The findings from an 18-month into Crown’s Sydney casino licence have been released. Credit:Nick Moir
Commissioner Bergin said in her report that the finding of Crown’s unsuitability stemmed from evidence of money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth casinos, the arrest of 19 staff in China in 2016 and its partnerships with “junket” tour operators linked to organised crime.
“The scorching light of this inquiry has exposed a number of problems that would have otherwise remained unearthed and unresolved,” Commissioner Bergin said.
The report considers what reforms Crown might have to undertake in order to be deemed fit to hold a casino licence in NSW, with its core problem being its “poor corporate governance, deficient
risk management structures and processes and a poor corporate culture”.
“Crown recognises that there is a need for cultural change,” Commissioner Bergin said. “However this must come from within Crown rather than from some proposal to the (Independent Liquor and Gaming) Authority in this process.”
Commissioner Bergin’s recommendations are not binding, and the authority will meet later this month to consider which, if any, it should implement.
The inquiry was triggered by a series of reports by The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes into the group.
Crown was set to open the gaming floors of its $2.2 billion resort at Barangaroo in late December but the authority blocked it from commencing gaming operations after the group admitted to the inquiry that criminals probably laundered money at its Melbourne and Perth casinos.
Crown put its ASX-listed shares into a trading halt on Tuesday morning ahead of the report’s release.
More to come.
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