Crown’s CEO says significant progress made on reforms

Crown has been taking steps in order to be able to open gaming at Crown Sydney.
Crown has been taking steps in order to be able to open gaming at Crown Sydney.

Steve McCann, Crown Resorts CEO, says the company has turned a corner and has been materially de-risked over the last 6 months.

Australia.- Steve McCann, Crown Resorts CEO, has said that “good progress” has been made in implementing the reforms outlined in the Bergin report, which found Crown unsuitable to hold its licence for its new Sydney casino.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) ordered the casino operator to pay a fine of AU$22.5m (US$17.3m) following the inquiry and said measures were needed if Crown is to open the gaming areas of Crown Sydney. Crown has since developed a remedial plan to resolve issues raised by various regulatory agencies. The programme focuses on key areas such as culture, responsible gambling, risk management, intermediaries, and VIPs and key players. 

In addition to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing programmes, Crown Resorts had made further board changes over the last months. In the first week of December, Ziggy Switkowski was confirmed as chairman of Crown Resorts following the necessary regulatory approvals. 

Switkowski was elected in August to replace Helen Coonan, who assumed the role on an interim basis when Ken Barton stepped down. Crown Resorts also announced the appointment of Danielle Keighery to the new role of chief corporate affairs and brand officer. Keighery will start working for the group by 2022 and will be in charge of Crown’s brand and reputation work across all touchpoints. 

According to igaming Business, McCann said: “We have invested a lot of time and effort since then to continue on that path. I firmly believe the business has turned a corner and has been materially de-risked over the last 6 months.”

He added: “We have seen significant progress on our remediation plan, we’ve had a significant overhaul of the senior leadership and board. We’ve had continued challenges through Covid-19 in terms of lockdown, but today we have all three resorts open and operating.”

McCann also mentioned Blackstone’s latest offer for Crown. He said: “We’ve made it clear that we don’t think that the offer is compelling value. We’ll be looking at every alternative to try and maximise value, but the very first step is getting open in Sydney and making sure the market can see the value of these fantastic assets and get trading post-pandemic.”

In Western Australia, the Western Australia Royal Commission has delivered its interim report on the state’s Regulatory Framework to the Western Australian Government.  Written submissions from Crown and other parties are due on January 20, and closing oral presentations from counsel assisting and interested parties are scheduled for early February 2022.  The Royal Commission is scheduled to deliver its final report by March 4.

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