Crown Resorts Wins Approval to Maintain NSW Gaming License Amid Scandal Recovery

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In the eastern part of the Australian continent, a glimmer of hope dances on the horizon for the beleaguered Crown Resorts. The gaming colossus has been granted approval by the regulatory gaming officials in New South Wales (NSW) to continue wielding its gaming license. A sigh of relief for the organization, as it has been battling for its corporate life recently, and this judgment will enable the Crown Sydney, an integrated resort worth a staggering AU$2.2 billion, to continue its operations.

This conditional consent represents nothing less than a triumph for the distressed company, acting as a sequel to the similar favorable judgment witnessed in Victoria for Crown Melbourne. The Crown Sydney, nestled within the heart of Barangaroo, flung open its gates late in 2020 and now stands to continue its privilege of parading a gaming license.

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The gaming segment of the resort, majestic in its ultra-luxury appeal, declared table games open for business as of August 2022. However, in a strange twist, the establishment does not house slot machines, lovingly known as pokies by the locals, because Star Entertainment has firmly held onto a monopoly over the machines, a reign that will not relinquish until 2041.

Acknowledging the inquiring minds, the top brass at Crown revealed that the organization has splurged a handsome sum exceeding AU$ 200 million to completely rejuvenate its internal checks and balances. This came after the compliance of the company was thrown into a whirlpool of doubt by a state inquiry in August 2019, leading to a domino effect of more inquiries from Victoria and Western Australia.

Taking a stern stance, the authorities didn’t dilly-dally in revamping board and executive positions. The drastic change came into effect after it was concluded that the company has done little to shield its bastions from the clutches of illicit gangs and nefarious crime syndicates, hell-bent on whitewashing their dirty money.

At the backdrop of these looming corporate storms, US-based private equity giant, Blackstone, saw a window of gaming opportunity. Keen on diving into the gaming industry, made even more attractive due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blackstone extended its reach overseas with a staggering AU$8.87 billion takeover of Crown. In a bid to reform the tarnished image of Crown, Blackstone promised to rectify the company’s shortcomings and agreed to pay up to AU$680 million as penalties for money laundering.

The reframed Crown Resorts has managed to hold onto its precious licenses for all three casinos so far, with Crown Melbourne and Crown Sydney recognized as suitable by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission and the NSW Independent Casino Commission respectively, leaving only Crown Perth’s fate hanging in the balance. Expressing confidence, NICC Chief Commissioner Philip Crawford, however, cautioned that the commission will not lose sight of the past deeds of Crown Sydney and vowed to keep a close eye on its activities.

Crown Sydney’s newly minted CEO Mark McWhinnie echoed similar sentiments, brandishing the casino as the “safest place to gamble” in NSW, and revealed the casino has taken strenuous steps to bolster safety and compliance through “432 remediation activities.”

However, the cloud of uncertainty still looms over Crown Perth, as the Western Australia casino is in the middle of its remediation plan, with impending clarifications due by the year 2025. Crown Resorts CEO Ciarán Carruthers spoke glowingly of the company’s objectives and achievements, striking a hopeful note for Crown Perth’s fate, and pledged to remain committed to the ongoing remediation work.