The Crown Casino Resorts group has met an unexpected bump in the road only days before the imminent launch of their brand new $2.2 billion Sydney-based casino.
The New South Wales gambling regulator has formally requested that the group put off plans to partially open their state-of-the-art land-based gambling operation until the conclusion of an AUSTRAC investigation has been reached regarding money-laundering allegations.
Melbourne in the Spotlight
AUSTRAC has informed the Crown Casino group that they have reason to believe that their Melbourne Casino may be guilty of non-compliance to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws. This alert was sounded after concerns were raised over the casino’s record-keeping protocols. These were flagged during their compliance assessment, which began in September of 2019 and is yet to be concluded.
The Crown casino’s statement to their shareholders, who are understandably concerned with this abrupt turn of events, read:
“The potential non-compliance includes concerns in relation to ongoing customer due diligence, and adopting, maintaining, and complying with an anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing program.”
The inquiry, which was near its end, claims that Crown Casino ignored apparent money-laundering operations and as a result has entertained organised criminal activities.
Of course, this has had an instant negative effect on the casino group’s share prices on the ASX, which dove by just over 9% in two hours, from a price of $8.80 to $8.15. This knock adds to an already shocking financial year for the group, whose annual losses lie at around 30% in total, thanks to the global pandemic.
Resumption of Services
The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) has stated that they will wait for the verdict in the ongoing investigation before making definitive judgments on the licensing of Crown Casino Sydney. This could only conclude in either January or February of 2021. In the light of the severity of the allegations, they deem it important to halt all gambling activities at the new complex until further notice.
The ILGA is however, willing to come to some sort of compromise with Crown, with an agreement to possibly allow them to open all other non-gambling related services and activities at the Sydney resort. This may mean that the group may still be able to offer hotel accommodation, wining, dining, and other entertainment while they await the findings.
Gamblers Still Have Options
While the operators tussle to prove their case, there is no reason for Australian gamblers in Sydney to miss out on their casino fix. While 2020 has had a ravaging effect on land-based gambling in various ways, the online gambling world continues to grow and give players what they need.
There are ample first-class remote casino operators that accept Aussie gamers. These responsibly licensed casinos offer everything from online pokies to table games, live casino titles, and way more. What is more, is that there is no reason to leave the house to spin and win.