Crown Resorts’ Barangaroo casino could open by October

Crown is working closely with the ILGA to retain its gaming licence.
Crown is working closely with the ILGA to retain its gaming licence.

The New South Wales regulator has said Crown Resorts is on track to open its Barangaroo casino by October. The news may scupper potential buyers’ hope for a discount, JP Morgan says.

Australia.- The New South Wales regulator, the ILGA, has praised Crown Resorts’ decision to comply with a request to introduce cashless gaming to make its operations more transparent.

It says that if Crown Resorts continues taking steps to address the findings of the ILGA’s inquiry into the operator, it may be able to retain its gaming licence and open its casino at its venue in Sydney’s Barangaroo district by October.

In February, the ILGA inquiry found Crown to be “quite unsuitable” to hold a licence for its new casino. Non-gaming facilities at the property have opened without the casino, with a liquor licence now extended until October 2021.

ILGA Chairman Philip Crawford stated: “I think you can assume that we are hopeful and-or confident that the opening of the gaming rooms will happen well in advance of the end of October.”

Crown must pay AU$12.5m to cover the cost of the ILGA inquiry and must pay an annual Casino Supervisory Levy of AU$5m for fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

Crown’s Executive Chairman, Helen Coonan said. “It’s important to know we are well on track but I have assured the regulator there will be no complacency as we continue to embed the changes to improve our governance and compliance processes across the organisation.”

Offers to buy Crown Resorts may be affected

According to JP Morgan, the news that Crown may receive its Barangaroo licence by October may not be welcomed by companies that have made offers to buy the operator.

Analysts at the financial services company think the three bidders, Blackstone, The Star Entertainment and Oaktree Capital Management, factored discounts into their offers due to the possibility of Crown losing the gaming licence.

It said: “Today’s announcement was no surprise, but it did remove the discount bidders applied on fears ILGA would never grant an NSW licence.”

Blackstone Group has recently increased its original offer for Crown from AU$11.85 cash per share to AU$12.35. Meanwhile, The Star Entertainment has made an offer of AU$12bn (US$9.4bn) and Oaktree Capital Management made an offer of AU$3bn.

A potential fourth bidder, CC Land Holdings, a Hong Kong real-estate company, has yet to make an offer yet.

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Crown Barangaroo Crown Resorts land-based casino