Gaming regulators in New South Wales and Victoria have found Blackstone Inc was suitable to hold a casino licence.
Australia.- Blackstone Inc has inched a crucial step forward towards acquiring Crown Resorts. The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), and the New South Wales Independent Gaming and Liquor Authority (ILGA) have approved its proposed acquisition.
Crown Resorts shareholders approved Blackstone’s $6.3bn offer last month. The deal remains subject to gaming regulatory approval in Western Australia, the approval of the Federal Court of Australia and other customary conditions.
The VGCCC required Blackstone and Crown to agree to an extensive list of accompanying conditions and protections including:
- strengthening of Crown’s governance through the manadatory application of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and recommendations, including that Crown Melbourne have a majority independent board of directors
- enhanced reporting of anti-money laundering and responsible gambling activities and additional auditing requirements on Crown
- new role requirements for Crown Melbourne’s CEO and key executives and non-interference requirements
- improved information sharing with law enforcement agencies
- that Blackstone cannot change its corporate structure and funding arrangements without VGCCC approval, meaning Blackstone will not be able to introduce new investors into the structure without VGCCC approval
- that Blackstone invests in, and maintains Crown Melbourne as the flagship casino in Australia.
VGCCC chairperson Fran Thorn said: “Our approval comes with stringent conditions which balance delivering stronger controls on the casino and ensuring it continues to be the flagship casino in Australia. We will take action should any of these conditions not be met by either Blackstone or Crown.”
A date for a final Court hearing on the deal has not yet been fixed but Crown Resorts has said it will announce the date via the ASX announcements platform once it is known.
Crown is close to getting a conditional licence to open Sydney casino
As previously reported by Focus Gaming News, it seems Crown Resorts is close to opening its long-awaited casino venue in Sydney. The casino operator will be granted a conditional licence for a specific period, with the potential for full certification. The state cabinet will meet on Monday to decide whether to approve the plan.
The decision, however, was criticised by some sectors. Macau-based casino analyst Ben Lee told ABC if the plan was given the green light, it would make gaming licencing a “total farce”.