Australia Confirms & Begins Crown Investigation

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Crown Casino's neon trade mark sign in Australia.
  • Official investigation into Crown begins
  • Melco and Crown’s deal will stand regulatory scrutiny
  • Crown’s name has been cited as part of an organized crime ring

NSW Gaming authority begins official probe into Crown Casino regarding Crown Sydney and alleged criminal links between Crown and Asian syndicates.

Crown Casino Comes to be Investigated by NSW Gaming Authority

Crown Casino will formerly undergo an official inquiry conducted by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority. The move is prompted by the recent announcement that Crown Resorts intends to sell shares from CPH Crown Holdings, owned by James Packer, to Melco Resorts & Entertainment.

As a matter of fact, the investigation has been prompted by recent media reports that Crown has been tied to Asian crime syndicates, which has raised questions about the type of connection Melco and Crown have.

To stay objective, the inquiry will follow the NSW Casino Control Act guidelines, studying those allegations. In May, Melco made news by saying that the company had agreed to buy out 19.99% of Crown’s shares for a total of AUS$1.76 billion.

Crown seeks to expand further in Asia. Interview with Lawrence Ho. Credit: Bloomberg

However, on Thursday, August 8, the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority took an official stance in the matter arguing it would pursue an investigation into the operator’s dealings.

According to multiple media outlets, Crown has been facilitating the entry of Asian gamers into the country on visas that didn’t follow standard procedures. Beyond that, there were indications that Crown was complicit or running with an organized crime ring.

Just this week, Ben Simmons, an Australian NBA player signed by the Philadelphia 76ers, appeared on social media in a video where he alleged discrimination on the part of Crown Casino security.

By now, there have been multiple critics levied against Crown as a property that has repeatedly failed to ensure adequate care for customers. On one occasion, Crown was intentionally handing out plastic sticks to jam slot machines so people could play quicker.

Crown Receives Notice from the Authority

Based on the Authority’s report, all parties involved have been handed out notices and asked to collaborate fully. According to investigators, Australia wants to make sure that Crown Sydney, a casino project currently in development and due in 2021, is “free of all criminal activity”.

Meanwhile, Melco Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho has expressed his confidence that the proposed sale of shares would stand regulatory examination. Mr. Ho is not allowed to establish any kind of business leading back to his father, Dr Stanley Ho, who is considered to be the pioneer of the casino industry in Macau.

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