Crown Sydney casino licence denied after Bergin report released
Crown Sydney casino licence denied after Bergin report released

Crown’s next steps after shock casino verdict

A damning report has found James Packer's Crown ­Resorts is unsuitable to run a ­casino in its new $2.2 billion tower at Barangaroo.

But inquiry commissioner ­Patricia Bergin found Crown could "achieve a fresh start" if it undertook some radical changes, including axing its chief executive Kenneth Barton.

The 18-month inquiry headed by the former NSW Supreme Court chief judge heard evidence of money laundering at Crown's casinos in Melbourne and Perth and links to criminal syndicates through junket operators who jetted in VIP "whales" from Asia and other overseas locations.

Crown Resorts owner James Packer. Picture: Aaron Francis
Crown Resorts owner James Packer. Picture: Aaron Francis

The report, tabled in the NSW parliament on Tuesday, slammed Crown's "corporate arrogance" and said the company's "core problems" were its "poor corporate governance" and "deficient risk-management structures".

The report made 19 recommendations that will be considered by the NSW's independent Liquor and Gaming Authority on Friday.

In order for Crown to "survive this turmoil and convert itself into a company that can be ­regarded as a suitable person" the report said it needed to undertake some radical changes.

These include punting Mr Barton as CEO, with the report finding he "demonstrated that he is no match for what is needed at the helm of a casino Licensee''.

"The Authority would be justified in concluding that it cannot have any confidence in dealing with Mr Barton as a director of the Licensee or Crown," it said.

 

 

Crown chairwoman Helen Coonan received a tick of approval, with her evidence showing "her character, honesty and integrity has not been and could not be called into question".

The report also said Crown would not be considered suitable to hold a casino licence while ­Michael Johnston and Andrew Demetriou remain directors.

Crown would also be required to provide a "written remediation action plan" and undertake to adopt procedures for "governance, independent review (and) accountability". A forensic audit of accounts would need to show no signs of money laundering.

The casino operator would also need to stick to its promise to no longer deal with junket ­operators.

Crown casino at Barangaroo in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Crown casino at Barangaroo in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

It is understood Crown ­Resorts is keen to work on embracing the changes to allow it to regain approval to operate a NSW gaming licence.

Its building has already opened bars, restaurants and a six-star hotel, while the gaming floor sits idle.

A statement from Crown said: "Crown will work with the New South Wales independent Liquor and Gaming Authority in relation to the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry Report as contemplated by the regulatory agreements between Crown, ILGA and the State.''

The report also called for amendments to the Casino Control Act to tackle money laundering and the establishment of an Independent Casino Commission with the power of a standing Royal Commission to control the entire gaming sector.

It would also require anyone who holds more than 10 per cent of a casino to get approval from the ICC.

Originally published as Crown's next steps after shock casino verdict

Crown at Barangaroo. The Bergin report was tabled in state parliament on Tuesday. Picture: Jeremy Piper
Crown at Barangaroo. The Bergin report was tabled in state parliament on Tuesday. Picture: Jeremy Piper

Livestock transporters set to celebrate 40 years in Roma

Premium Content Livestock transporters set to celebrate 40 years in Roma

Members of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland will meet...

Thousands up for grabs at upcoming Roma Picnic Races

Premium Content Thousands up for grabs at upcoming Roma Picnic Races

After a pandemic-induced hiatus last year, the Inky & Moss Fashions on the...

Qld Symphony Orchestra regional tour to Maranoa/Western Downs

Premium Content Qld Symphony Orchestra regional tour to Maranoa/Western...

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra is taking their music to the country, with the...