News State NSW News ‘All bets are off’: Crown faces fight to keep casino licence

‘All bets are off’: Crown faces fight to keep casino licence

crown resort sydney barangaroo
An artist's impression of the $2.2 billion Crown Sydney Hotel Resort. Photo: Crown Resort
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Gladys Berejiklian says she will listen to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority before making any decision about the future of Crown’s licence to operate its $2.2 billion casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo.

A day after a scathing report into the company the NSW Premier was asked if she intended to cancel the licence after a former judge concluded Crown was not fit to run a casino.

“It’s up to our independent gaming authority to give government advice,” she told Radio 2GB on Wednesday.

She warned that any casino needed to “stick to the rules” and “be above reproach”.

“If parties don’t come with the highest compliance, integrity and lawful activity well then all bets are off,” she said.

There has been speculation the jewel in the Crown empire could be converted to luxury apartments if Sydney’s high-roller casino is not allowed to open.

Crown was the subject of a year-long probe to see if it was still suitable to hold the gaming licence at the gleaming Barangaroo tower.

The report found Crown subsidiaries were used to launder money and that the company’s conduct facilitated money laundering for at least five years.

Ms Berejiklian brushed off suggestions the government could be sued for compensation if Crown’s licence was cancelled, rendering the Barangaroo site financially unviable.

“That’s up to every company to make assessments as to whether they’re viable or not. That’s not for government, that’s not for the taxpayer,” she said.

The commissioner had showed a clear path forward for Crown “to do things properly” and it was up to the company to follow that advice, she said.

The damning report by Commissioner Patricia Bergin found Crown facilitated money laundering through subsidiaries’ bank accounts then failed to act when it was drawn to their attention in public media reporting.

It also put its staff in China in danger of being detained and dealt with junket operators it was told were involved in organised crime, Ms Bergin concluded.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) will now consider the report, which it received on February 1 and which was published on Tuesday.

Chair of the authority Philip Crawford will face media about the Bergin inquiry on Wednesday.

Ms Bergin left it to the IGLA to decide whether it should cancel, suspend or impose conditions on the licence.

But she suggested sweeping cultural change was needed – as well as specific measures like the removal of certain board directors, a thorough audit of Crown accounts for money laundering – and measures to stop the sharing of confidential information with James Packer.

Crown has vowed to work with the ILGA regarding the report’s findings and recommendations.

Crown also runs casinos in Victoria and Western Australia, with calls for those jurisdictions to respond to the findings.

-with AAP