In Australia and beleaguered casino operator Crown Resorts Limited has reportedly announced that it is now hoping to premiere the gambling element within its new Crown Sydney development ‘early in the new year’.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, the Sydney-listed firm used an official filing to declare that the forecast comes as it has made ‘good progress’ in implementing a number of reforms recommended last year following the completion of an investigation chaired by former New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin.
Crown Resorts Limited is already responsible for casinos within its Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne facilities and had been hoping to open its 75-story Crown Sydney by the end of last year complete with a large selection of gaming tables. However, this timeline was subsequently scuppered after the official probe found that the company may have been complicit in a slew of money laundering allegations tied to its former use of foreign junket firms.
Despite this setback and Crown Resorts Limited purportedly went ahead and opened most of the non-gambling elements within the $1.5 billion Crown Sydney including the facility’s 349-room hotel and 21,500 sq ft spa. The company reportedly detailed at the time that it was still hopeful of receiving a casino license for the downtown Sydney development from the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority regulator but was first being obliged to implement a number of changes that included a complete overhaul of its internal anti-money laundering protocols and significant boardroom changes that would reduce the influence of controversial controlling shareholder James Packer.
Melbourne-headquartered Crown Resorts Limited reportedly used its filing (pdf) to proclaim that this whole process has been the subject of ‘ongoing discussions’ with the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and that it is now prepared to open the casino element within its new Sydney development ‘on a staged basis’ pending a favorable ‘determination of suitability’.
Read the filing from Crown Resorts Limited…
“Good progress has been made in implementing the reforms outlined in our remediation plan, including those outlined in the Bergin Report, and we continue to work constructively with the independent monitor.”
Although the New South Wales fiasco led to the initiation of similar investigations by officials in the states of Victoria and Western Australia, the new Chief Executive Officer for Crown Resorts Limited, Steve McCann, reportedly pronounced that his company had now ‘turned the corner’ to be ‘significantly re-risked’. News that the operator’s Crown Sydney venue may soon feature a casino purportedly sent the value of individual shares in the firm up by 0.5% to about $8.19, although this is still some 8% below the roughly $8.90 valuation recently rejected as part of a buyout attempt from American private equity management behemoth The Blackstone Group Incorporated.