Crown: Blackstone decision to harm community

9 July 2022

The decision to hand the foreign-owned Blackstone Group the license to operate Crown Casino means there will be less transparency and greater risk of gambling harm to the community.


No other business would be given a second chance like this


We can only hope they mean what thye say about regulating the damage that is evident from Crowns operaiotns from


Tim Costello is available for further comment.

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704


The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has given Crown Sydney casino conditional approval to open its gaming operations.


The Authority’s Chairperson, Philip Crawford, said Crown will be allowed to conditionally begin casino operations, giving the Authority the chance to monitor the final phase of its restricted gaming licence suitability assessment, after the 2021 Bergin Inquiry found Crown unsuitable to hold the licence.


“Under the Authority’s supervision, Crown has rebuilt its gaming model from the ground up, which has meant deep structural change around governance, anti-money laundering measures and corporate culture,” Mr Crawford said.
“After more than one year’s work with Crown, the Authority is pleased to have reached a stage where Crown can open its casino operations on a conditional basis.
“Given the need to observe the changes in operation as well as ensure changes are embedded in the business, the Authority will consider approval of Crown’s suitability until the end of the conditional gaming period, which could run between 18 months and two years.
“The new systems and internal control measures have been set up and will be in place from day one.”
Mr Crawford said the Bergin Inquiry highlighted the scale and scope of issues to be remediated by Crown, with potentially billions of dollars having been laundered through its casinos.
“Crown has been required to implement a raft of stringent controls to prevent money laundering and criminal infiltration in its NSW business model. What was happening in Crown’s interstate operations will not be repeated in NSW,” Mr Crawford said.
“With a complete clean-out of the board and senior executive, Crown has made significant progress and has agreed to ongoing work to regain its casino licence.”

The Authority has also approved Blackstone’s suitability to hold a casino licence in NSW. Having gained the other necessary approvals from Victorian and West Australian regulators and the Federal Court, Blackstone takes over as the new owner of Crown on Friday 24 June.


Crown Casino was recently fined a record $80 million for a scheme that allowed the illegal transfer of funds from China that was exposed by the Royal Commission.


Yet despite evidence in the Star Casino inquiry that Chinese bank cards facilitated $900m of banned gambling transactions at Star - which the Casino then lied about to the National Australia Bank – a similar record fine is not possible in NSW.


In fact, NSW is now poorly lagging Victoria which last year increased the maximum fine the regulator could impose from $1m to $100m.


Today the NSW regulator can still only impose a pitiful $1m on casino operators. For casino’s that is a tiny amount and as proven by the evidence from the inquiry, it is not enough to deter the most appalling criminal behaviour.


Even worse, in the last 12 months there have been 16 different disciplinary actions against Star and only three fines imposed that totalled just $200k.


Given your leadership on these casino inquiries we would urge you to increase the maximum fine that the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority can impose on Star to $100m to at least match that now in place in Victoria. This is all the more important now given the intense public concern over the operations and licence holder of the new Crown Casino in Sydney.


The current failure to grant the NSW regulator these powers means there is no protection for the NSW community against Star Casino’s organised crime-enabling activity.


Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704