Crown agrees to defer opening of gaming at new Sydney casino

LATEST @ 4.30 PM | Crown Resorts has announced it will comply with the NSW gaming regulator’s request to postpone the opening of gaming operations at their new Sydney casino.

Crown had originally planned to open its gaming operations at the $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino in Sydney next month, but that was quashed today after the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority decided to withhold approval for gaming at the venue over concerns of money laundering.

“Crown announced today that the board has determined that gaming operations at Crown Sydney will not commence in December 2020,” Crown said in a statement a short time ago.


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“The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has deferred its consideration of a number of applications required for the commencement of gaming operations at Crown Sydney until Febaruay 2021.

“Crown will continue to focus on opening the non-gaming operations at Crown Sydney, in consultation with ILGA, in the absence of the commencement of gaming operations,” the statement concluded.

EARLIER @ 3.25 PM | Crown Resorts’ hopes to open its new Sydney casino next month have been quashed, after the NSW gaming regulator today requested the casino postpone the opening of its gaming operations.

It comes after the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority last night received evidence from Crown Resorts itself, where it admitted to the likelihood of money laundering through its accounts.

“It looks like there is the possibility that money laundering transactions have been identified,” ILGA chair Philip Crawford told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“That is a concern, when we talk about money laundering, what does that really mean? It basically means proceeds of crime,” he said.

“To put a narrative around the appropriate proceeds of crime, we talk about drugs, child sexual exploitation, we talk about people trafficking, we talk about financing of terrorism.

“With the narrative around that, you can see why we have concern, and we are concerned that this particular type of business is a magnet for money-laundering.”

As a result, the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has decided to withhold regulatory approval for gaming at the casino until an inquiry into Crown’s suitability to run the casino wraps up in February next year.

“We are hopeful that Crown Resorts will agree to our request to postpone opening of all gaming activities, which would be unable to begin without approval of these regulatory matters,” Mr Crawford said.

“The Authority has found ongoing evidence before the Bergin Inquiry to be extremely concerning, that any gaming activity at the casino before the inquiry’s findings are released in February 2021 and considered by the authority would pose unacceptable risks on the community against the public interest.

“In light of this, we did not consider it appropriate to determine the applications before the authority until the findings of the Bergin Inquiry.”

The proposed opening date for the $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino in Sydney had been slated for December 14, 2020.

Crown is still able to open the restaurant, bar, and other parts of the venue next month, but are not permitted to swing open the doors to any gaming facilities.

Mr Crawford admitted it was still possible that Crown could have its casino licence revoked, pending the outcome of the inquiry.

“That is certainly available to us. That is what we are looking at, whether they are fit and proper to retain the licence given to them in 2014,” he said.

Crown Resorts shares were placed into a trading halt earlier today ahead of the announcement.

EARLIER: Crown Resorts shares have been placed into a trading halt, as the gaming giant eagerly awaits to find out whether or not it will be allowed to open its new Sydney casino.

The proposed opening date for the $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino has been slated for December 14, but Crown is awaiting on approval by the NSW gaming regulator.

The gaming giant requested the trading halt after receiving a letter from the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority this morning.

“The reason for the request is that Crown has received a letter from the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) in relation to the opening of date of Crown Sydney,” Crown said.

The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority is expected to announce its decision regarding the opening date at a media conference at 3.30pm today.

“Crown intends to make an announcement following consideration of the letter from ILGA and ILGA’s press conference,” Crown said.

“Unless ASX decides otherwise, the securities will remain in trading halt until the earlier of the commencement of normal trading on Friday, 20 November 2020 or when the announcement is released to the market.”

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