Crown Resorts has taken another significant step forward in its quest to open its Barangaroo casino in Sydney by the end of the year.
The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has reached an agreement with Crown Resorts on several matters regarding operation of the Barangaroo casino.
Crown has agreed with the Authority to:
- pay a proportion of the costs of the Bergin Inquiry
- immediately commence payment of the Casino Supervisory Levy
- not operate any international junket operations
- make all gaming in its casinos cashless with card technology linked to identity and a recognised financial institution, and
- phase out indoor smoking at its Australian resorts by December 2022
The agreement was reached following discussions between the regulator and Crown Resorts about issues identified in the Bergin Report concerning the future management and operation of Crown’s Barangaroo casino.
In separate discussions, The Star has also agreed to cease all international junket operations and work with the Authority in moving towards cashless gaming, using a card linked to identity and to a recognised financial institution.
In seeking to establish that it is suitable to hold a casino licence in NSW:
- Crown has undergone significant Board renewal,
- All senior executives, against whom concerns were raised by Bergin, have left,
- All senior executive positions are being filled by candidates with relevant expertise and experience, and
- Independent audits are well under way on several aspects of Crown’s operations.
ILGA chair Philip Crawford said Crown was making significant progress in addressing the serious concerns raised in the Bergin Report.
“Crown, through its Executive Chair Helen Coonan, is addressing many of the issues which caused Commissioner Bergin to find that it was unsuitable to hold a casino licence in NSW,” Crawford said.
“The Authority has also entered into an agreement with CPH to address issues around its influence and control over the management of Crown.”
Crawford said an Independent Monitor is being appointed to report back to the Authority on several of Crown’s structural changes, with particular focus on its corporate governance, anti-money laundering measures and culture.
“The Authority will await the report from the Independent Monitor, and the result of the financial accounts audit, before making a final decision on suitability,” he said.
“Any changes to Crown’s ownership structure, including takeover or merger proposals, require the Authority to consider a range of issues including undertaking full probity assessments of any new entrants, how a merged entity would operate, and the extent to which any existing agreements with Crown would need to be reviewed.
“Any concerns around monopolies would be a matter for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,” Crawford said.
Two weeks ago, Crown Sydney was also granted new liquor licences that will allow the gaming giant to serve alcohol in its bars and restaurants until the end of October this year.
The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) approved three interim licences that will allow liquor to be served at Barangaroo at non-gaming areas only. The new licences are valid from May 1 until October 31, 2021.
Announcing the approval to shareholders, Executive Chair Helen Coonan said: “Crown is continuing to work through the consultation process with ILGA as it seeks to restore regulatory confidence in its operations and give effect to the Restricted Gaming Licence in Sydney.
“Crown welcomes ILGA’s approval of the new liquor licences for Crown Sydney Property Pty Ltd which will allow guests to continue to enjoy the non-gaming facilities at Crown Sydney as we work through this process.”