The agreement on its Barangaroo casino licence has a clause that could allow the operator to seek compensation for any losses.
Australia.- Australian taxpayers could pick up the bill for any losses Crown Resorts suffers if New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s ongoing probity hearings find it needs to implement further controls on customer money transfers.
ILGA is currently considering whether the Australian operator is fit to keep its licence for its $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino, set to open in December.
The hearings were called following a corruption scandal that took place in 2016, when Crown officials were imprisoned in China for promoting gambling.
The authorities heard that the casino would promote visas to Australia for Chinese high rollers who had connections with organised crime and money-laundering. Customers used unmonitored accounts to transfer money.
Now the The Sydney Morning Herald has revealed that the contract for the new casino signed by Crown Resorts with the NSW government in 2014 stipulates that the company can demand compensation worth 10-and-a-half times the estimated negative financial impact from “any action” the government imposes that has the effect of changing its licence.
That would appear to allow the operator to seek compensation from the NSW government if it enforces tighter controls on the Barangaroo development that result in a negative financial impact.
Justin Fields, an independent member of the Legislative Council (MLC) told the Herald that in light of clauses that hamper the government’s capability to prevent money laundering and organised crimes, authorities should cancel Crown’s licence unless the operator makes a written commitment not to seek compensation.
The inquiry will decide by February 1 if Crown is suitable to hold its casino licence.