Following ILGA's approval

Crown to open its Sydney casino in August for VIP-only visitors under conditonal license

Crown Sydney.
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After the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) approved Crown to operate its Sydney property last month, Crown Sydney has now announced it will open its doors in August to VIP visitors only.

The operator, which will be closely monitored by the ILGA in its activities, described its new gaming facility as “intimate”, featuring “two luxurious VIP gaming floors” and exclusive private salons, ABC News Australia reported.

The two floors will be named the Crystal Room and the Mahogany Room, with the former opening its gaming floor on August 8, which will only be open to VIP members and their guests. Mahogany Room is set to open at a later date.

Crown Sydney CEO Simon McGrath said there would be 160 gaming tables and 70 electronic table games

“We are committed to delivering a safe and responsible gaming environment for all, and Crown Sydney’s restricted gaming facility has been designed with the highest levels of governance and compliance," he said. “It is the only casino of its kind in Australia, with all patrons required to be a member or guest of a member and undergo comprehensive checks."

Crown was initially due to open the floors of the resort in December 2020. But last year, ILGA found the gambling giant unfit to hold a gaming license for the casino at Barangaroo after a public inquiry exposed allegations of money laundering. The broader property, on Sydney Harbour’s foreshore, has been operating a five-star hotel and restaurants since 2020, while the group was blocked from opening the casino.

However, Crown has now rebuilt its gaming model from the ground up, which has meant deep structural change around governance, anti-money laundering measures and corporate culture, said ILGA chair Philip Crawford. Granting a conditional license would allow the regulator to “keep a very close eye” on Crown

ILGA chair Philip Crawford.

The fact that the license is under the “conditional” tag is due to the fact that the company has not yet been found fully “suitable” for operation: “We want to see them operate. We want to see that happening so we’ve retained that independent monitor role," Crawford said. 

Crown Resorts made new commitments in order to open the casino, such as agreeing to pay a portion of the costs of last year’s inquiry as well as a casino supervision levy, ceasing all international junket partnerships, adopting a cashless gaming model, and phasing out indoor smoking.

Crown can now conditionally begin supervised casino operations and is expected to take into account these reforms, stemming from the Bergin inquiry into the company, which made 19 recommendations to improve transparency and accountability for casino operators and clamp down on organized crime and money laundering risks. 

US private equity group Blackstone took control of Crown on June 24 after the Federal Court approved its AUD 8.9 billion ($6.2 billion) takeover bid. Blackstone said it will work with the management team at Crown and its thousands of employees "to transform these properties into world-class entertainment destinations and continue Crown’s transformation to operate at the highest standards of compliance, governance, and integrity."