ILGA fines Crown in the millions
It was hardly possible, the constant negative news to miss about the Crown Casinos in Australia. The investigations against the casino operator dragged on for several months. Although everything was denied at the beginning of the investigation, the allegations could be substantiated and it was found that Crown had in fact engaged in money laundering. This led to strict measures against the casino. Now, however, there is another penalty that is taking its toll on Crown.
Crown has to pay a fine of 14.4 million euros
The first penalty Crown hit was the revocation of the license for the already built casino in Barangaroo. The construction of this casino cost several millions - all the worse this penalty hits the group.When the license for the casino will be granted, no one can estimate yet. First and foremost it depends on whether the casino can redeem itself and comply with all regulations and rules in the future. These rules include, for example, terminating business relationships with all junket operators. According to the new management, this should already have happened.
Despite this positive development, ILGA has imposed a fine on Crown. This is 14.4 million euros. This penalty is intended topay for the investigation costs. At the same time, this sum will cover the supervisory fees for 2021 and 2022. It is not certain how long it will take for Crown to collect the fine. It is quite conceivable that sales will decrease in the near future after the rich players from China are no longer counted among the guests. Down the road, there are conditions set by ILGA that can also reduce sales.
Cash no longer accepted at Crown Casinos
To prevent further money laundering, players at Crown Casinos are no longer allowed to pay with cash. The corporation must equip itscasino games with card technology. What this looks like in detail has not yet been published. In any case, the implementation of this regulation is associated with additional costs. However, this is only for the security of the company. Nobody knows how the players will react to it either.
It is important that Crown also implements this rule. At the moment ILGA is satisfied with the management. After Ken Barton resigns,Helen Coonan was installed as CEO. Already after a short time a lot has changed at Crown, so that the chances of a license for Barangaroo are increasing. Coonan would have already tackled some problems. It was also promised that Crown would work closely with ILGA from now on. It remains to be seen whether this will remain so in the long term. It is also not yet possible to estimate whether Crown will soon be owned by another provider.
Blackstone and Star Entertainment show interest
Blackstone made a takeover bid some time ago. This offer was rejected by Crown. One reason could be that Blackstone works with the Ho family. This cooperation only becomes clear on closer inspection: Blackstone owns a share of almost 10 percent in Crown. However, themoney for the purchased stake comes from Melco, behind which is the Ho family. According to the license terms, Crown should never have worked with Ho. However, the owner James Packer did not stick to that. This was also a reason why no new license was granted to Crown.
Because Helen Coonan wanted to do everything differently and right from now on, Blackstone's offer was rejected. It is too uncertain who is actually behind the offer. The situation is different with the offer from Star Entertainment. This companyoffered amerger leaving 59 percent in the hands of Crown shareholders. Thus, Crown would not be sold. The merger offer is almost 8 billion euros. Crown has not expressed any rejection of this offer – however, no approval has been published either.
Further levies at risk
Apart from the fine that is already pending, Crown could face another levy. This has not yet been decided, but it is already being discussed. It is alevy for 2023. It is possible that this levy will depend on the further conduct of the company. Among the conditions set by ILGA was that the management be reshuffled. That was the official reason why Ken Barton left his post. If Crown now agreed to a merger, the staff would change again. The associated changes could have an impact on whether another levy is due for 2023.
Of course, Crown can't afford a single mistake anymore.Possible money laundering must be suppressed from the start. Furthermore, players from China are no longer allowed to be hired. Finally, in general, no guests may be accepted who come from countries in which gambling is prohibited. If Crown complies with all of these rules and conditions, chances are there won't be a levy after all.