Crown Sydney Now Licensed for NSW Casino Operations

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Chief Commissioner Philip Crawford addresses the media on Crown Casino developments in Sydney, April 23, 2024. (Image: Australian Associated Press / Alamy)

In Australia, Crown Resorts Limited has been found suitable to hold an unrestricted casino license for its Crown Sydney property following a fresh investigation by the New South Wales Independent Casino Commission.

Following its designation as “unsuitable” to hold a casino license in February 2021, the operator has experienced more than three years of uncertainty.

This disturbing judgement followed a state-sanctioned inquiry finding the Melbourne-headquartered company potentially complicit in multiple cases of money laundering tied to its past use of foreign junket enterprises. 

Reduced Remit

Crown Resorts Limited, which is also responsible for Australia’s Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth facilities, was nevertheless allowed to bring limited casino gambling to its 349-room Crown Sydney property in June 2022 after agreeing to abide by a strict monitoring program. 

This course additionally included a promise that the company would overhaul its entire gaming model by making structural changes to its governance, corporate culture, and anti-money laundering systems.

The start of this period coincided with New York-based Blackstone Group’s purchase of Crown Resorts Limited via a deal worth north of $5.7 billion and also saw the casino operator begin the implementation of a remediation action plan drawn up in partnership with the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and independent monitor Kroll Associates.

Powerful Proposition

Opened in December of 2020 following over 48 months of construction, the 75-story Crown Sydney sits in the harborside Barangaroo district of Australia’s second largest city and today features a members-only casino offering 160 traditional gaming tables, including poker tables, alongside 70 electronic counterparts and twelve private salons for high rollers.

Built at a cost of over $1.4 billion, the six-star property furthermore hosts a full-size tennis court, a high-tech gym, a spa, 14 restaurants and bars, multiple retail outlets and a two-level infinity pool.

Standing at a height of 890 feet, Crown Sydney is the fourth tallest building in the whole of Australia and occupies the center of a 54-acre mixed-use development also home to 82 residential apartments, 9,914 sq ft of conference and meeting space, an excess of offices and a 150-seat beach cinema.

The giant Sydney endeavor employs roughly 3,000 people and even boasts its own underground parking lot capable of accommodating up to 300 vehicles. 

Confident Conclusion

In finding Crown Resorts Limited suitable to hold an unrestricted casino license on Tuesday, the Chief Commissioner for the New South Wales Independent Casino Commission, Philip Crawford, said the firm had come a long way since 2021 by having ‘fundamentally reformed its business’.

The regulator subsequently proclaimed the operator was now abiding by its regulatory obligations and the requirements of its suitability deed and had ‘remediated its business in other meaningful ways’ including creating ‘a culture of transparency and accountability’.

“The New South Wales Independent Casino Commission is confident the Crown Resorts Limited we deemed suitable today has a strong model to keep operating into the future,” Crawford said.

Future Focus

Despite this positive determination, Crawford pronounced Crown Resorts Limited will still be required to demonstrate its long-term commitment to maintaining suitability by continuing to keep on top of hundreds of new internal controls. 

He disclosed these cover a range of updated settings on issues, including the removal of obstacles to the powers of the New South Wales Independent Casino Commission.

“Hard work and transformation aside, the New South Wales Independent Casino Commission has not forgotten the level of misconduct exposed in 2021 when Crown Resorts Limited was found unsuitable,” Crawford said. 

“Crown Sydney has ongoing work to reach steady state and it must continue to lift standards and maintain its cultural transformation. There is and will always be room for improvement but Crown Sydney is a changed business that is looking toward the future.”

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