Crown’s casino deemed ‘not suitable’ for Barangaroo
Crown Resorts has been deemed unsuitable to operate a new casino in its new $2.2 billion tower at Barangaroo, a damning report has found.
However the casino giant may be able to open its gaming floors if it undergoes a radical shakeup including sacking CEO Kenneth Barton as a company director.
The Bergin report, tabled in state parliament this afternoon, has also found Crown Resorts is "not" a "suitable person to be a close associate" of the licensee.
That means that Crown or its subsidiary - Crown Sydney Gaming Pty Ltd - can currently not operate the casino at the $2.2 billion Crown Towers in Barangaroo.
However the report outlines a number of ways the companies could be suitable to operate a casino licence.
Among the ways Crown could be deemed "suitable" to hold a licence is the removal of it's CEO.
Ms Bergin's report states that the gaming authority "would be justified in entertaining very serious doubts" that the licensee - Crown Sydney Gaming Pty Ltd - could be deemed suitable to operate a casino license "whilst Mr Barton remains as a director".
The year-long inquiry led by former NSW Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin was launched in response to reports of money laundering at Crown casinos.
Counsel assisting the inquiry last year recommended Ms Bergin find Crown Resorts to be an unsuitable associate or licensee of the Barangaroo casino.
"At the heart of the report is a relationship between organised crime, money laundering, and gambling," Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello ahead of its tabling in parliament.
The gaming regulator last year blocked the opening of the casino at Barangaroo until the Bergin report had been considered.
The Bergin report has recommended changes to the NSW legislation to add the object of "ensuring that all licenced casinos prevent any money laundering activities within their casino operations".
The report also recommends a powerful Independent Casino Commission (ICC) be established by separate legislation to create a "specialist casino regulator". Per the recommendations, the ICC would have the powers of a standing Royal Commission.
The 19 recommendations also include other legislative changes which would impose more regulatory requirements for casino operators.
The gaming regulator will consider the 800 page report at a special meeting to be held this Friday and again its regular monthly board meeting on February 17.
"The report is detailed and complex. It will take time for the Authority to give it proper consideration before determining the most appropriate course of action," Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority chair Philip Crawford said.
"It is not appropriate for the Authority to comment on any of the report's findings or content until this process is completed," Mr Crawford said.
"It is critical that the management and operation of casinos in NSW are free from criminal influence or exploitation."
Originally published as Crown's casino deemed 'not suitable' for Barangaroo