The NSW gaming authority’s decision to block the opening of the new Crown casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo – albeit temporarily – was the only possibly outcome. Weeks of adverse evidence before the authority’s inquiry have shown governance failures, and exposure to crime and criminality that are nothing short of gobsmacking.
The inquiry was convened to investigate the sale of a stake in crown to a Macau-based business with links to Stanley Ho, an alleged underworld figure, as well as allegations raised by The Age and 60 Minutes that Crown was turning a blind eye to signs that organised crime was using its casinos in Melbourne and Perth to launder money.
While Crown and its controlling shareholder billionaire James Packer denied the reports at the time and since, painstakingly-assembled evidence has revealed Crown’s failure to implement basic anti-money laundering protocols, as well as its use of so-called junket operators, who brought rich Chinese gamblers to its tables in Australia.
In final submissions to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority this week, Crown has pleaded to be allowed to keep its licence, despite these problems, and open its Sydney casino behemoth as planned.