NSW Independent Casino Commission Gives Crown Resorts the Green Light to Operate Sydney Casino

April 23, 2024 | Casinos

SYDNEY, NSW (April 23, 2024) — According to local media reports Crown Sydney has been deemed suitable to hold a casino licence by the NSW gaming regulator who found the company had cleaned up its act since an inquiry exposed allegations of money laundering at other casinos.

In February 2021, the Bergin inquiry found Crown Sydney Gaming Pty Ltd was not suitable to hold a restricted gaming licence for its $2.2 billion Barangaroo facility and that Crown Resorts Ltd was not presently “suitable” to be a close associate of the licensee.

The inquiry heard about incidents of money laundering and links to international criminal syndicates through Crown’s relationship with private junket operators who sourced the company’s VIP clients from overseas.

After the inquiry’s findings, Crown Sydney negotiated a pathway with the regulator for it to redeem its licence suitability.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported¬†NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) chief commissioner Philip Crawford on Tuesday said the commission resolved that Crown Sydney had fulfilled its obligations of that pathway and therefore “is suitable to give effect to its licence” and that “Crown Resorts is suitable to be a close associate of Crown Sydney”.

“Crown Sydney is a vastly different business to the one, which was examined in the Bergin inquiry,” Mr. Crawford said.

“Today, Crown is one that understands the responsibilities of holding a casino licence both as to corporate governance and as to an ability to work alongside the regulator, in discharging its legal and social obligations.”

Crown Sydney was given conditional approval to open its casino at Barangaroo in June 2022, 16 months after being deemed unfit to hold a gaming licence.

Crown has ‘recognised the need to change its culture’

Following the inquiry, Crown Sydney had “cleaned out” its board and senior management, Mr. Crawford said.

He said it also “recognised the need to change its culture” and embraced “concepts of sustainability and responsible gambling”.

“In making this decision today, the NICC is mindful of the dark places this company was in only a few years ago.”

“The NICC is determined this shall not be allowed to happen again.”

NICC was established in response to the Bergin inquiry’s recommendations and became responsible for licensing decisions and disciplinary actions taken against licensees.

Mr. Crawford said establishment of the commission and new laws, which forbid NSW casino operators from dealing with junket operators, meant the state was in a better position to ensure the company’s future compliance.

“The NICC has powers, which it believes will enable it to respond to the changing face of the casino industry and the challenges that’s going to bring in the future,” he said.

Crown responds

Crown said it had invested $200 million to transform its business, implementing reforms across harm minimisation, financial crime, governance, compliance and risk.

It said this was done under new leadership and ownership after Crown was acquired by Blackstone in June, 2022.

Crown Sydney CEO Mark McWhinnie said the the company had worked tirelessly to implement wholesale reform, and had delivered 432 remediation activities to the NICC.

“The NICC’s decision today recognises the genuine and sustainable changes we’ve made and our ongoing commitment to operating at the highest industry.

SOURCE: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

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