Considering the latest events, the pledges of Crown Resorts to get approval for its AU$1.6-billion casino tower seem hardly possible even on the eve of its launch. The uncertainty has originated from the fact that the gambling regulatory body in New South Wales (NSW) still has to decide whether the Australian gambling giant is fit to keep the Barangaroo casino licence.
Now, a wide gap has opened between the promises made by the gambling company at the time it sought approval for its project seven years ago and what will be finally delivered at the Sydney-based tower at the time it starts operation. The difference between Crown Resort’s promises and the actual state of affairs has raised questions regarding the corporate governance at the gambling operator, which has been hit by a regulatory probe for publishing misleading adverts and failures to comply with state gambling regulations.
A former official of the NSW Government, who has been directly involved in the Crown Resorts’ casino approval process but is no longer related to the project and remained anonymous, said the company had made a lot of promises but failed to stick to it.
NSW Government Could Permanently Cancel Crown Resort’s Barangaroo Casino Licence
As Casino Guardian previously reported, Crown Resorts has been hoping to attract affluent Chinese gamblers to its 75-floor tower project.
Unfortunately, the NSW gambling regulatory body blocked the company from proceeding with the planned December opening of the Barangaroo casino until the final inquiry report is issued in February 2021. At the time when it announced its decision for the ban, the watchdog cited Crown Resorts’ own evidence that money laundering had been facilitated in its Melbourne and Perth casino’s VIP gambling rooms.
The suspension basically means that when the new Barangaroo flagship resort of the Australian gambling giant opens in December, Crown will have to rely only on hotel and restaurant takings since it would not be able to launch the casino venue operations as initially planned. Considering the ongoing situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the resort would probably have its hotel and restaurant revenue generated by domestic tourists only because the country’s borders remain closed as part of the Government’s measures to prevent the further spread of the Covid-19 infection.
The widely promoted on-site college that has been planned by Crown Resorts and is part of an external project is also unlikely to open anytime soon. A spokeswoman for the gambling company explained that the construction of the project has been delayed by 6 to 12 months but the operator remains committed to its promises.
The Barangaroo casino licence is now under question, with the NSW Government having an option to cancel it permanently. Such a cancellation, however, means it would lose guaranteed tax revenue of AU$1 billion. Still, in case that happens, Crown Resorts would probably choose to run the tower as a hotel, hospitality and entertainment hub in order to get at least some of the investment that had been made in the project.