Crown Sydney opens casino for VIP gaming

The company has opened its casino venue over 18 months after the launch of non-gaming operations.
The company has opened its casino venue over 18 months after the launch of non-gaming operations.

Crown Sydney has finally inaugurated its casino today, with the opening of its VIP Crystal Room.

Australia.- Crown Resorts has finally begun gaming at its Crown Sydney venue with the opening of the VIP Crystal Room on its main floor. Other parts of the venue have been open since late 2020, but the opening of the casino had been delayed due to the New South Wales inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold a licence.

Crown Sydney chief executive Simon McGrath has previously said there would be 160 gaming tables and 66 electronic gaming tables available at the Crystal Room. The Mahogany floor to follow in October. There are no slot machines.

Initially, Black and Platinum Crown Rewards members and their guests will be able to access the Crystal Room, followed by Gold Crown Rewards members later.

McGrath said: “The level of interest has exceeded our expectations in terms of membership. I think we’ll be at a pretty good pace relatively quickly. However, what’s important to us is that we do that in a very safe and responsible way.”

According to Macquarie Group Limited, Crown’s casino venue will control 35 per cent of Sydney’s tables-based gambling market by 2025, worth AU$923m. Macquarie also forecasted a VIP turnover of AU$10bn by 2025.

Peter Lawrence resigns as VIP general manager at Crown Melbourne

Peter Lawrence has resigned from his role as general manager of VIP customer service in the Mahogany Room at Crown Melbourne. Last year, Lawrence gave damning testimony at the Royal Commission into Crown regarding the case of high roller Ahmed Hasna.

Hasna claimed he gambled at the casino venue almost every other day, sometimes for up to 26 hours, between 1993 and 2019. He filed a federal court lawsuit alleging Crown knew or should have known he had a gambling addiction.

Lawrence told the inquiry that Crown’s treatment of Ahmed Hasna in 2016 was irresponsible and “probably” predatory and lucrative. He also told the royal commission that Mahogany Room staff routinely breached Victoria’s casino control laws by allowing customers to buy chips with cheques addressed to themselves, not Crown Melbourne, as is required by law.

Blackstone Group has recently named Ian Silk as chairman of Crown Melbourne. Silk, who is a director of DJW Advisory, the Victorian Legal Services Board and the Hawthorn Football Club, will also join the parent company’s board as a non-executive director.

Blackstone has also appointed Helen Silver, who was secretary of the Victorian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet between 2008 and 2013 and an Allianz Australia executive, and Henriette Rothschild, a partner at KordaMentha and Richmond Football Club director, as Crown Melbourne non-executive directors.

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