A recent encounter the Australian casino tycoon James Packer had in the French Caribbean fuelled rumours for a possible upcoming sale of struggling Crown Resorts.
Mr Packer reportedly celebrated New Year’s Eve with a lavish party on his IJE boat, with another super boat, Queen Miri, owned by the Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, docked right next to his. The encounter of the two businessmen sparked speculations that Mr Packer may be considering to dispose of his share in Crown Resorts to Mr Adelson, with Crown’s Barangaroo casino in Sydney expected to receive an operating licence.
The strange coincidence of the two casino magnates’ boats docked next to each other sparked rumours that a possible deal regarding Mr Packer’s stake in the Australian gambling giant might have been discussed.
As explained by analysts, the ongoing casino license suitability-related inquiry faced by Crown Resorts in the state of New South Wales (NSW) and the troubles associated with it, might make such a sale the only logical option of James Packer. On the other hand, Mr Sheldon Adelson is known for his insatiable appetite for new assets and value to his multi-billion empire.
Disposing of His 36% Stake in Crown Could Be the Logical Step for Packer
Crown Resorts has already held a soft opening for its AU$2.4-billion Barangaroo venue. However, for the time being, the complex is set to operate without the high-roller casino that was meant as the venue’s centrepiece, along with the luxury 6-star hotel Crown Towers.
The new Barangaroo facility of the Australian gambling giant was set to start operation on December 14th. However, earlier in December 2020, the gambling regulator in the NSW, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) revealed a decision to withhold its approval for the casino as a result of the ongoing inquiry that is set to find out whether Crown Resorts is suitable to hold a casino operating licence in Sydney.
As Casino Guardian has already reported, the probe is related to allegations of money laundering happening through high-roller operations of the Australian casino giant, as well as corporate governance failures and organised crime involvement. Crown Resorts also faced allegations that it had withheld vital information from the inquiry officers.
The ILGA revealed that it is set to consider the gaming licence issue after the commissioner Patricia Bergin, who leads the probe, files her report in February. The regulatory body has also issued temporary liquor licences for the non-gambling services of Crown’s new Sydney venue to April 30th.
Considering the fact that the probe has been a significant setback for the casino operator, speculations have emerged that James Packer will consider disposing of his 36% stake in the company.
However, the rumours of a meeting between Mr Packer and Sheldon Adelson have been rejected by a spokesperson for Mr Packer. The spokesperson commented on the rumours for the Daily Mail Australia, calling them “gossip”.