Crown Resorts was allowed to open its new AU$2.2 billion casino resort in Barangaroo near Sydney, albeit for its non-gaming operations, after the gaming regulator in New South Wales (NSW) issued an interim liquor license for the property. The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) granted a license for the Crown Sydney hotel, bars and some restaurants.
Non-Gaming Operations Only
Last month, upon completion of the hearings related to the NSW inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold a license, the regulator expressed serious concerns regarding Crown’s admission money laundering might have taken place via its high-roller bank accounts and requested a delay for the casino opening. ILGA stated that there would be no problem opening the other parts of the multi-billion casino resort.
“Last month ILGA decided against approving a range of regulatory items related to the casino’s gaming activities prior to the release of the Bergin inquiry’s findings in February 2021.”Philip Crawford, Chair, ILGA
In a last-ditch attempt to save the opening of the scheduled for December 14 opening of the casino resort near Sydney, Crown proposed a period of operations under close scrutiny from the regulator in a working test, but ILGA did not agree.
The chair of the regulatory body further clarified Wednesday that ILGA agreed with Crown to work together towards an opening of all non-gaming areas including restaurants and bars, accommodation and entertainment. As the position of the liquor and gaming watchdog had not changed, ILGA issued an interim license for Crown which would be valid until April 30, 2021.
Interim Three-Month License
By the time Crown would have to apply to extend the liquor licenses, ILGA would have looked into detail the final inquiry report expected to be submitted by Patricia Bergin on February 1, and would have had plenty of time to consider what needs to be rectified in terms of Crown’s AML controls.
“This will enable ILGA to consider any suitability concerns arising from the Bergin inquiry following the handing down of the report due early next year, before making a further decision regarding an extension to the licence.”Philip Crawford, Chair, ILGA
Following the decision by ILGA, Crown filed a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) notifying the market authority it was working on finalizing preparations for the opening of its non-gaming operations at Crown Sydney expected to commence from December 28, 2020.
In October, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) added to the misery of Crown Resorts after launching a probe into its dealings with high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and politically exposed persons (PEPs) at its Melbourne casino property.