Crown Resorts Wants Working Test to Reopen in Sydney
As the Crown Resorts struggles to keep its operating license in Sydney, the company asks for a test run in the hopes of passing and staying open.
Over the past few weeks, Crown Resorts has been under tough scrutiny by authorities as it prepares to open a new casino in Sydney. The ability of the company to maintain its operating license is in question, just a few weeks before the new venue is set to open. Just a few days ago, it was ruled that the casino cannot open next month and must wait until at least February when an inquiry will be concluded. The casino operator is pleading with regulators to let them open now under a working test.
Crown Resort says the only way that operators can really see how they will function is to let them open the casino. They are suggesting close supervision of operations and will work through any shortcomings via a working test run.
A proposal was sent to the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority yesterday as an attempt to open the Barangaroo casino, which is valued at $2.2 billion. The plan is a last ditch effort to try and open in December.
Neil Young, QC, the barrister for the Crown, spoke to Commissioner Patrician Bergin and said that if the Crown is found to be unsuitable for licensing then it is not necessary to delay operations if a conversion period is used to help the operator fix issues.
Young suggested that the company be allowed to open the Sydney casino under the watchful eye of the Authority. During this time, the casino would start a series of reforms to clean up its act. This would include new controls for anti-money laundering as well as a restructure of management and a complete review of the culture within the company.
In his final submissions, Young said that many of the matters the Authority wants to see fixed will need to be taken care of during a working test. Young pointed out that close oversight and review of the operations will help the Authority to ensure the company is functioning appropriately.
It was suggested that the Authority could set up inspectors within the gaming floor to watch operations closely. Daily reports could be provided to the regulatory along with reviews and audits of the day to day operations.
Will It Be Considered?
The regulators have not revealed if they will consider the proposal by Crown Resorts. It was just on Wednesday that the Authority decided it would not allow the operator to open the Sydney casino until the review was completed.
Based on the terms of the inquiry, if Bergin finds that Crown Resorts is not suitable for licensing, then she must report what the company can do to become suitable. Young rejected counsel submissions that the operator must address the influence of James Packer, a major shareholder within the company. The Authority wants to see the Crown restrict the board representation of Packer as well as voting power.
According to Young, the relationship between the company and Packer is strictly stock standard. Agreement have been torn up that allowed confidential information to be shared as well as a provision of services to the operator.
In inquiry into the Crown was stated by a series of reports last year and will conclude with public hearings today. Final submissions are to be provided at this time. I imagine that any decision regarding the new submissions by the Crown and the request to open under supervision will be considered today. it will be interesting to see if the Authority agrees to the terms or if Crown Resorts will have to wait at least until February to open the new casino.