NSW gaming watchdog deems Crown unsuitable for casino licence

NSW gaming watchdog deems Crown unsuitable for casino licence

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has officially concluded Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN) is not suitable to be given a licence for its casino in the $2.2 billion Barangaroo tower in Sydney, in line with advice from the scathing Bergin Report.

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has officially concluded Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN) is not suitable to be given a licence for its casino in the $2.2 billion Barangaroo tower in Sydney, in line with advice from the scathing Bergin Report.

The report triggered the resignations of three directors last week who were joined by the company's outgoing CEO Ken Barton yesterday, following the report's call for a board overhaul and cultural change at the Packer family-backed group.

In the interim Barton has been replaced by chairman Helen Coonan - who advocates "branch and root change" at Crown - in the position of executive chairman.

Crown announced this morning it had received a letter from the ILGA stating that in light of the inquiry's findings, it "presently considers that Crown Sydney Gaming Pty Ltd (Crown Sydney Gaming) is no longer a suitable person to give effect to the Restricted Gaming Licence in New South Wales and the [Casino Control] Act".

The ILGA determined Crown Sydney Gaming had breached clause 14(a) of the VIP Gaming Management Agreement (VIP GMA). This relates to whether or not the company can be considered a "suitable person" - a definition that was scrutinised in the inquiry due to governance issues that led to staff arrests in China, as well as allegations around facilitating money laundering and junkets.

"ILGA has commenced the consultation process contemplated under the VIP GMA and has invited Crown Sydney Gaming to address ILGA in relation to its present view," Crown said in its announcement today.

The report has sent ripples in other jurisdictions where Crown has casinos, with the ABC reporting yesterday that Western Australia's chief casino officer Michael Connolly stepped down following questions on radio station 6PR about his social relationship with staff from Crown Perth's legal and compliance team.

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