In Australia and industry sources have reportedly detailed that it could take over a year for Asian casino operator, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, to complete its planned acquisition of a significant stake in Crown Resorts Limited.

Shareholding scheme:

According to a Monday report from Inside Asian Gaming, Hong Kong-headquartered Melco inked an arrangement last week that is to see it spend some $1.2 billion in order to purchase a 19.99% shareholding in Australia’s largest casino firm.

Trio of trials:

However, Inside Asian Gaming reported that this deal, which was agreed with an independent entity controlled by the former Chairman for Crown, James Packer, can now only be ratified once officials from the Australian states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia have completed a range of probity checks.

Family connections:

Melbourne-based Crown Resorts Limited runs or is building gambling facilities in these three jurisdictions and local regulators are determined to make sure that there are no business links between Melco and one of the godfathers of Macau’s casino industry, Stanley Ho Hung Sun.

97-year-old Ho is the father of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Melco, Lawrence Ho Yau Lung (pictured), and has been accused in the past of having historical ties with Macau’s triad criminal gangs.

Independence assertion:

For his part, the younger Ho reportedly told the Australian Financial Review newspaper that Melco Resorts is already partnering with Crown to bring a giant integrated casino resort to the Barangaroo district of central Sydney and is moreover abiding by a 2014 arrangement signed with the New South Wales Liquor and Gaming Authority that forbids any such business links with his elderly father.

Ho reportedly told the Australian Financial Review…

“Both Crown Resorts Limited and I have always stressed that my business dealings are independent of my father’s interests. We have already been in partnership with Crown Resorts Limited for twelve years and have passed probity screens from regulators without an issue.”