In Australia and the gaming regulator for the state of New South Wales has reportedly launched legal proceedings against Asian casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited in an attempt to recover approximately $2.63 million.
According to a Sunday report from Inside Asian Gaming, the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority watchdog filed the action involving the Hong Kong-headquartered firm as part of a campaign to recoup at least some of the cash it spent in conducting its recent license suitability probe into Crown Resorts Limited.
Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited is responsible for the Studio City Macau, City of Dreams Macau and Altira Macau casino resorts in Macau alongside the under-construction City of Dreams Mediterranean development taking shape in Cyprus. The source detailed that this company led by Asian casino magnate Lawrence Ho Yau Lung moreover operates the Philippines’ City of Dreams Manila venue but faced considerable scrutiny in 2019 after it attempted to take its interest in Crown Resorts Limited up to 19.99%.
A subsequent review of this proposition led by former New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin reportedly found Crown Resorts Limited to be unsuitable to hold a New South Wales gambling license for its coming $1.5 billion Crown Sydney facility. This decision purportedly later prompted regulators in the Australian states of Victoria and Western Australia to launch analogous probes even though Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited had long since cancelled its interest and sold off its existing 9.99% stake in the Australian casino giant to American private equity firm The Blackstone Group Incorporated.
Reportedly read a statement from the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority…
“In light of the findings of the Bergin report, the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority considers it appropriate for Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited and Crown Resorts Limited to provide payment for the costs of the inquiry. The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority reached agreement with Crown Resorts Limited in May of 2021 but, as an agreement has not been reached with Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, we have now initiated proceedings.”
For its part and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, which will soon be obliged to reapply for its Macau gambling concession, reportedly declared that it has ‘sought to work’ with the New South Wales regulator ‘in a professional, fair and reasonable manner’ but was still awaiting information that would allow it to ‘reach an amicable resolution’. All of this purportedly comes a little over a year after Crown Resorts Limited opened the non-gaming aspects of its Crown Sydney development and continues to work with regulators in hopes of being able to premier the harborside Sydney facility’s casino later in the year.
A statement from Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited reportedly read…
“Despite this request, we have not received the information that is necessary for us to adequately assess the claim from the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.”