Deemed unfit due to money laundering links

Crown Resorts secures approval to operate Sydney casino following remediation and reforms

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After three years of intensive remediation efforts, the New South Wales Independent Casino Commission (NICC) has granted Crown Resorts permission to retain its casino license for its Sydney property. The decision, announced on April 23, marks the conclusion of a period of uncertainty for Crown in NSW.

In February 2021, Crown was deemed "unsuitable" to operate a casino at Barangaroo in central Sydney following an inquiry led by former judge Patricia Bergin. The report cited evidence of money laundering and connections to international criminal syndicates through Crown's relationship with private junket operators.

However, after negotiating a pathway with regulators to redeem its license suitability, Crown Sydney has now been deemed suitable by the NICC to operate under an unrestricted license. This decision comes after Crown Sydney fulfilled its obligations outlined in the pathway agreement, demonstrating its suitability to hold the license.

Since the inquiry's findings, Crown Sydney has undergone significant changes, including a restructuring of its board and senior management. Additionally, the company has embraced cultural changes and implemented reforms focusing on harm minimization, financial crime prevention, governance, compliance, and risk management.

Notably, Crown Resorts was acquired by Blackstone in June 2022, leading to new ownership and executive leadership. Under this new guidance, Crown has invested AU$200 million ($130 million) in transforming its business, implementing extensive reforms to address concerns raised during the inquiry.

To address money laundering concerns specifically, Crown has introduced rigorous standards, including the implementation of cashless gaming on all electronic table games, a first for gambling businesses in NSW.

Moving forward, Crown has committed to continuing its collaboration with the NICC to ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements.

Philip Crawford, Chief Commissioner of the NICC, said the establishment of the NICC and the enactment of new laws prohibiting NSW casino operators from dealing with junket operators have strengthened the state's ability to monitor and enforce compliance within the industry

“Crown Sydney is a vastly different business to the one, which was examined in the Bergin inquiry,” Crawford also said. “Today, Crown is one that understands the responsibilities of holding a casino licence both as to corporate governance and as to an ability to work alongside the regulator, in discharging its legal and social obligations.”

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