Crown Resorts has been granted conditional approval to open gaming operations at its Sydney casino.
The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) chairman, Philip Crawford, said Crown will be allowed to begin casino operations but will be monitored by the regulator as part of the final phase of its suitability assessment.
“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,” 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.
Crawford said the regulator needed to ensure changes are embedded in the business and will continue to review Crown’s suitability until the end of the conditional period, which could run between 18 months and two years.
The decision means Crown Sydney will now be able to offer its full range of facilities, alongside accommodation, restaurants, bars, spas and retail.
“Our vision is to become one of the world’s most respected operators of integrated resorts anywhere in the world,” Steve McCann, Crown’s CEO and managing director said.
“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.”
Crown has been prevented from using the gaming floors of its Barangaroo resort since the Bergin Inquiry found the company “unsuitable” to hold a gaming licence in 2021.
The inquiry uncovered evidence Crown had been infiltrated by money launderers and criminal syndicates.
According to Crawford, 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,” he said.
“What was happening in Crown’s interstate operations will not be repeated in NSW.
“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, following Crown Resorts’ decision to sell its casino and hotel empire to the US-based private equity firm for $8.9 billion.
Having gained the other necessary approvals from Victorian and West Australian regulators and the Federal Court, Blackstone will take over as the new owner of Crown on Friday 24 June.