Crown Resorts suggests opening new casino under strict supervision

By Peter Lynch

A “working test” is the best way to prove Crown Resorts is fit to hold the license for its new Sydney casino, according to the group’s legal team.

The proposal to the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) inquiry comes just one day after the gambling regulator urged the opening of the casino be delayed.

The new $2.2bn property had been scheduled to open on 14 December in Barangaroo, but the ILGA has suggested it is pushed back to after the results of the inquiry.

Commissioner Patricia Bergin is set to deliver her final report in February 2021.

Crown is currently under a strict review for alleged money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth casinos, with its partnerships with high-roller tour operators reportedly having strong links to organised crime.

Chinese authorities convicted several Crown staff members of illegally promoting gambling four years ago.

But the company’s barrister Neil Young, QC, told Bergin that instead of delaying operations, the new casino should be opened under close supervision from the ILGA.

He argued Crown could operate the facility with a management restructure, a review of the operator's culture and with new anti-money laundering controls.

Young also added that the ILGA could station inspectors on its gaming floors, and that Crown could issue daily reports to the regulator.

"Many of the matters the authority may wish to be satisfied with are going to be matters that require a ‘working test’," said Young.

"Some of them are best addressed in the context of the way in which the casino operates; by way of close oversight and review of those operations."

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