Crown Melbourne Opens To More Patrons | Reintroduce Table Games

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(Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Crown Melbourne opens to greater numbers; reintroduces table games

As controversy follows Crown Resorts’ new casino in Sydney, it’s Melbourne venue will reopen to more patrons and reintroduce table games this week.

The Australian Financial Review reports that Crown’s hotel Metropol Melbourne will reopen from December 1 as COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria continue to ease.

The company will also be permitted 1000 patrons inside the casino, having previously only allowed 100 patrons.

Crown will restart its table games from November 25 but will turn off every second gaming machine and restrict each indoor area to the lesser of 150 people or one person per four square metres.

The ASX release detailing the revised trading conditions build on the already announced changes from a fortnight ago, in which Crown announced every patron would be limited to 90 minutes per day in the casino, with enhanced hygiene protocols and COVID marshals present when it restarted gaming activities on November 12.

These new changes will result in Crown standing up a significant amount of staff, although the exact number remains unclear.

The announcement comes as intense regulatory pressure further dogs the company, a year after media reports alleged it had partnered with junkets linked to organised crime and breached anti-money laundering laws.

Gaming regulators in Victoria, West Australia and NSW are pursuing Crown over the revelations.

Money laundering watchdog the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is also investigating the gaming giant.

The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry has forced Crown to delay the December opening of its $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino on Sydney’s waterfront until the inquiry delivers its findings in February.

Besides the problematic junket partners and breaches, the ILGA inquiry is also examining the influence of Crown’s controlling shareholder James Packer and whether his since-abandoned share sale to Macau-based casino operator Melco Resorts breached regulatory covenants.

The probe concluded public hearings last week and will provide a report in February.

Crown Sydney forced to delay opening as regulatory withholds licences

The New South Wales gaming authority has withheld Crown Resorts’ licences to run its luxurious high roller casino in Sydney amid an inquiry to determine whether or not the casino giant is suitable to hold its licence.

The Guardian reports that Crown intended to open its new facility in December, but the opening has been delayed until February at the earliest.

Crown’s board has subsequently agreed to delay the opening.

The gaming authority met for several hours on Wednesday to hear submissions from Crown about why it should be permitted to open as planned.

While Crown has a current gaming licence, it also has applications on foot with the authority for a number of other approvals it needs to run the casino, including liquor licenses, approval of the gaming floor area and probity checks on some of its directors.

“We are hopeful that Crown Resorts will agree to our request to postpone the opening of all gaming activities, which would be unable to begin without the approval of these regulatory matters,” ILGA chair Philip Crawford said.

Crawford said he was “disappointed” that Crown hadn’t taken the decision itself to delay the opening.

“They are not picking up the vibe,” he said before crown announced the delay.

“There is a lot of serious stuff floating around.”

Asked what this said about Crown’s culture, the head of the regulator said: “the Melco transaction clearly required our approval, but they didn’t seek it.”

William Brown


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