Crown warns 12,000 jobs are at risk if it loses licence

Crown Resorts is being investigated by two Royal Commissions in Australia.
Crown Resorts is being investigated by two Royal Commissions in Australia.

Crown Resorts sent a letter to the Victorian gaming minister saying there would be “severe consequences” if it cannot hold its licence for its second Sydney casino, the state’s Royal Commission has heard.

Australia.- Crown Resorts’ lawyer Leon Zwier wrote a letter to the Victorian gaming minister Melissa Horne warning that 12,000 jobs would be at risk if Crown is unable to retain its gaming licence.

The letter, which was made public on the last day of public hearings held by Victoria’s Royal Commission, also noted that the casino operator wouldn’t comply with its lending covenants which total $700m if it loses the licence.

Zwier wrote: “This will impact Crown’s shareholders, employees, unions, trade creditors, patrons, the hotel precinct, and the Melbourne tourism industry.”

Former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, who’s leading the Victoria’s Royal Commission, said the letter made it seem Crown Resorts wanted to “make sure that the commission doesn’t make a particular finding.”

Helen Coonan, Crown Resorts’ executive chairman, denied that the operator had attempted to lean on the state government.

Last week, Coonan told the Royal Commission that she had suggested former Crown CEO Ken Barton should resign last year after James Packer testified to New South Wales’ inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold its new Sydney casino licence last year. Coonan said she was “overruled” by Crown’s board.

She said: “I became increasingly concerned about the strategy then as the evidence began to unfold, and I thought we needed to take a very different approach.”

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