Following almost a full year of investigations, the Crown Resort Sydney received a conditional go-ahead to operate. The Crown’s license had been suspended since 2021.
They were given the go ahead after the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) oversaw the rebuilding of Crown’s gaming model. The resort’s casino is finally allowed back to work.
TrueBlue Casinos have been closely following this case from the beginning. Read on to learn why Crown’s license was suspended in the first place. The future of Crown Casinos seems to be a bit hazy at the moment.
In 2019, the NSW ILGA began an inquiry into allegations of money laundering through Crown Resort. Two years later, on the 9th of February, the Bergin inquiry report was discussed in the NSW Parliament.
After a thorough investigation, Crown was found unsuitable to hold a gaming license. The resort was involved in money laundering schemes and facilitating criminal activities.
Additional charges included: imposing double standards, unfair play, and inconsistent compliance with regulation. The most serious concern was money laundering and was the main focus of the Bergin inquiry.
Several allegations had been issued in the past by the Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) of West Australia concerning illegal junkets. There was no apparent response from the commission about this matter. The lack of response is another underlying issue. Apparently, several executives from the GWC were regular visitors to the Crown. The allegations include details that they were welcomed with expenses covered.
Average players should be concerned as well. There are strong implications that the casino didn’t provide random number generators for their games. Since all modern casino games are digitized, a random number generator issue can mean the difference between winning and losing in brick-and-mortar and iGaming platforms alike. That means unfair treatment to all players.
In 2021, the casino was given two years to improve its security and operations. Only then they would be allowed to operate in the growing casino industry again. Management promised to follow the new rules and adopt new business strategies. They also promised there was no risk of employees losing their jobs.
Packer Company owned and operated Crown casino. James Packer sold more than $3 billion worth of shares in a deal to sell the company to foreign investors.
The Australian Federal Court, and various other regulators, approved the takeover by Blackstone. The buyout deal valued at around $8.9 billion.
The NSW ILGA monitored the changes and improvements so Crown could get its license back. The regulators worked with the Crown for more than a year. Ultimately the regulators signed off on the improvements.
“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,” said the head of ILGA, Philip Crawford.
Despite this, the casino’s operation is only on a conditional basis. The NSW ILGA will continue monitoring the operations closely. This process could last anywhere from 18 months to 2 years. All new measures and systems that have been set up will start working as soon as possible.
“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 license,” said Crawford.
An independent casino commission is being formed to oversee operations at the casino. All Crown casinos around Australia will be subject to this commission. The operators are required to report suspicious activity reports to various regulatory bodies. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) will be the oversight body.
Blackstone, which has taken over the Crown organization, has also been given the green light for a gaming license. Most important, the +5000 employees of Crown Casino will keep their positions.
While it has been an incredibly rough patch, the future is brighter for Crown Casino Resort than it was a year ago. With new management, business model, and security measures,
casino operations will resume. This time under the watchful eye of several Australian authorities. Things should be back to normal as soon as 2024.