Economy

NSW gaming regulator tells Crown to delay Sydney casino opening

NSW gaming regulator tells Crown to delay Sydney casino opening”

A Wednesday press statement from the ILGA cited remarks from its chair, Philip Crawford, indicating the authority was not in a position to consider a range of regulatory applications on matters such as "minimum bet limits","VIP membership policy", "gaming area boundaries" and what the body called the "close associates" of Crown Resorts.

"The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has deferred its consideration of a number of applications required for the commencement of gaming operations at Crown Sydney until Febaruay 2021".

Crown Barangaroo is a 75 foot towering waterfront casino with a 350 room hotel. "They are not picking up the vibe", he said before Crown announce the delay.

Crawford added that he is not pleased with Crown Resorts' actions. "There is the potential for litigation, but I don't think this would be a good idea in this environment", he said.

"The Authority has found ongoing evidence before the Bergin Inquiry to be extremely concerning, that any gaming activity at the casino before the inquiry's findings are released in February 2021 and considered by the authority would pose unacceptable risks on the community against the public interest".

Crown Resorts' (CWN) Sydney casino has been barred from opening next month amid money laundering concerns. Crown had previously said it would suspend junket operations until 30 June next year. Crown Resorts' hopes to open its new Sydney casino next month have been quashed, after the NSW gaming regulator today requested the casino postpone the opening of its gaming operations.

Crown Resorts admitted in new statements submitted to the inquiry at 11pm on Tuesday that, "more likely than not", money had laundering occurred.

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The company did not know about the transaction and had no power to stop it, he said.

A spokeswoman for the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation told The Guardian that it does not now directly license junket operators.

Ms Bergin is chairing an inquiry by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) seeking to determine whether Crown remains suitable to hold a restricted gaming licence in New South Wales. However, in the light of the strong evidence received by the ILGA regarding Crown's operations, an emergency meeting was held by the NSW liquor and gambling regulatory body. "A licensing regime for junkets could be implemented through amendments to the casino operators' internal controls or amendments to the Casino Control Act", he said.

Ahead of the ILGA's ruling, Crown had already suspended its trading on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Crown is still able to open the restaurant, bar, and other parts of the venue next month, but are not permitted to swing open the doors to any gaming facilities. That's the deadline for Commissioner Patricia Bergin to provide her final decision on Crown's fate and, if her comments during this week's meeting are any indication, the future doesn't look very bright for the long-standing, and once respected, casino operator.

Counsel assisting the inquiry has recommended findings that Crown and Mr Packer are not presently fit to be associated with the new casino.



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