The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has given Crown Sydney casino conditional approval to open its gaming operations.
The Authority’s Chairperson, Philip Crawford, said Crown will be allowed to conditionally begin casino operations, giving the Authority the chance to monitor the final phase of its restricted gaming licence suitability assessment, after the 2021 Bergin Inquiry found Crown unsuitable to hold the licence.
“Under the Authority’s supervision, Crown has rebuilt its gaming model from the ground up, which has meant deep structural change around governance, anti-money laundering measures and corporate culture,” Mr Crawford said.
“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.
“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.
“The new systems and internal control measures have been set up and will be in place from day one.”
Crown’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Steve McCann, said: “Today is an important day for Crown, our customers and our people, who have been eagerly awaiting this announcement for some time and cannot wait to share the full Crown Sydney experience with the world.
“Our vision is to become one of the most respected operators of integrated resorts anywhere in the world. Since it opened, Crown Sydney has provided the city with an unrivalled level of luxury accommodation, restaurants and bars and now with the opening of gaming, we can offer our full suite of world-class facilities.
“Over the past 15 months, we have worked closely with ILGA to ensure we have the right measures in place for the commencement of gaming in Sydney and we will continue to work with them on our reform program, to showcase our suitability as a casino operator and demonstrate our ability to deliver exceptional experiences in a safe and responsible environment.
“We will now finalise our opening plans and look forward to shortly announcing the details and timing of our launch.”
Mr Crawford said the Bergin Inquiry highlighted the scale and scope of issues to be remediated by Crown, with potentially billions of dollars having been laundered through its casinos.
“Crown has been required to implement a raft of stringent controls to prevent money laundering and criminal infiltration in its NSW business model. What was happening in Crown’s interstate operations will not be repeated in NSW,” Mr Crawford said.
“With a complete clean-out of the board and senior executive, Crown has made significant progress and has agreed to ongoing work to regain its casino licence.”
The Authority has also approved Blackstone’s suitability to hold a casino licence in NSW. Having gained the other necessary approvals from Victorian and West Australian regulators and the Federal Court, Blackstone takes over as the new owner of Crown on Friday 24 June.