In Australia and the counsel assisting the official inquiry into the casino license suitability of Crown Resorts Limited has reportedly declared that the firm breached key regulatory requirements via multiple failures in governance and management.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, this was the opinion of equity, commercial and administrative law specialist Adam Bell in his final submission to the examination being conducted by the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority. The source detailed that this investigation previously heard how the casino operator had shared confidential information with its largest individual shareholder, James Packer, as well as a senior executive at the billionaire’s Consolidated Press Holdings Proprietary Limited vehicle while moreover taking a seemingly relaxed stance towards allegations of impropriety.
Officials in New South Wales reportedly launched their inquiry into Crown Resorts Limited in February amid claims that the firm’s plan to sell 19.9% of its shares to Asian counterpart Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited may have represented a breach of its license to operate the coming Crown Sydney facility. This $1.5 billion property is located in the harborside Barangaroo district of central Sydney and is purportedly set to begin welcoming gamblers from as soon as December following some 50 months of construction.
However, the Melbourne-headquartered operator reportedly may now be forced to delay or even cancel this premiere after Bell determined that the influence of Packer and Consolidated Press Holdings Proprietary Limited had proven itself harmful to the public interest. Crown Resorts Limited is also responsible for the Crown Perth venue in Western Australia as well as Victoria’s giant Crown Melbourne development and could furthermore be hit with a steep fine by the inquiry being led by former New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin.
Reportedly read a statement from Bell…
“We submit that the evidence presented to this inquiry demonstrates that the licensee is not a suitable person to continue to give effect to the license and that Crown Resorts Limited is not a suitable person to be a close associate of the licensee. In those instances, the adverse impact of Consolidated Press Holdings Proprietary Limited and Mr Packer, we submit, was ultimately harmful to the public interest, which is a primary object of the Casino Control Act to protect.”
Bergin’s final determination in the case is due to be published in advance of a February 1 deadline while Bell reportedly pronounced that the ultimate severity of any penalty against Crown Resorts Limited could be mitigated if it takes steps to reduce the influence of Packer and Consolidated Press Holdings Proprietary Limited in its affairs.