Crown Sydney casino opening delayed

Crown Resorts’ board sat on its hands and so the NSW regulator has intervened and ordered the new Sydney casino’s opening to be delayed.

Crown Resorts’ board was obviously determined to open its Sydney casino next month as planned. In spite of the revelations its own directors and senior executives made before a public inquiry by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and in spite of the comments by the NSW Premier and in the media, Crown was determined. The Authority’s chairperson, Philip Crawford, has been reported as saying that Crown was ‘not picking up the vibe’ in not delaying the opening itself, as I argued last week (see https://johnmenadue.com/uneasy-lies-the-head-crown-casinos-is-falling/).

Now the NSW Authority has had to act itself and ordered the new casino not to open until after the inquiry reports, which is due by 1 February. The last straw for the Authority was Crown’s belated admission at 11pm on Tuesday night that two of its accounts were ‘more probably than not’ used for money laundering. Crown has been denying this for months.

I concluded my article last week with

If Crown’s directors are determined to open its Sydney casino at this time and in these circumstances, they will provide answers to the central questions before the Inquiry: is Crown suitable to hold this licence? are its directors and senior executives fit to be associated with a casino licensee?

Crown’s directors are indeed answering these questions for the Inquiry.

Chris Sidoti was chairperson of the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority from 2008 to 2016.

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Chris Sidoti is a lawyer and international human rights consultant. He served as Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner and is a former member of now dismantled Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

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