Crown Opens New Barangaroo Hotel in Sydney

Despite their recent controversies Crown has invested in the development and opening of the new Barangaroo Hotel in Sydney. Recent events including Coronavirus and the recent scandal involving Crown, the hotel has successfully opened its doors to the public. The complex comes with a hotel and a casino; however, the latter remains dormant while government restrictions are still in place. Today we will examine the logistics surrounding the opening of the hotel as well as Crown’s previous situation and how it affects them.

Sydney Opera House at night.

The Darling Harbour includes the Sydney Opera House as well as many hotels and large financial firms. The Barangaroo Hotel has been opened less than a mile away from the Opera House. ©pattyjansen/Pixabay

Crown Resorts has stated that the Barangaroo Casino will be able to open without its gaming aspects in operation. This is less than a fortnight after local authorities denied them the right to open the complex due to an inquiry into unsustainable business practices. The hotel has now been granted a temporary liquor license which only applies to the bars and restaurants of the main hotel.

Despite the granting of a liquor license, Crown Resorts still await further consideration from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) on whether they are eligible for gaming-based liquor licenses, this will decide whether they can serve alcohol to customers within the casino area. The ILGA has been known to cooperate alongside businesses in the service sector before, a couple of weeks ago they approved the launch of a payment app from Sydney based tech company Fintech after consulting them for its use within pubs, clubs, and restaurants.

The chair of the ILGA, Philip Crawford has said that the authority was considering two more liquor licenses for the gaming areas of the Barangaroo Hotel. Last month the ILGA had previously decided against enabling two more liquor licenses for the hotel, this decision is subject to be overturned by the end of the week.

The ILGA Finally Give Crown Resorts Leeway

ILGA have shown themselves to be lenient enough not unnecessarily to restrict business developments in a tough economic climate. Despite this, they are remaining firm on the fact that these liquor licenses they have approved are temporary. In a statement from Crawford, he stated that the ILGA’s position had “not changed” and that these provisional licenses will only apply till April 2021. This is to give them more time to investigate any unsustainable business practices that may have or continue to take place.

As we speak the ILGA are still combing through reports from the previous year, in a thorough investigation which has to lead them to be cautious of any Crown Resort ventures. The Bergin inquiry brought up a number of claims questioning the practices of Crown, the biggest of these statements alluding to suspected money laundering within the company. Crown has released a message to the ILGA saying it is “finalising its pre-opening activities and expects to progressively commence non-gaming operations at Crown Sydney from 28 December 2020”.

Patricia Bergin, the former judge who published the initial report accusing Crown of business malpractice, has now been brought into the council to assist the inquiry. In November, the commission recommends that one of Crown’s biggest shareholder James Packer be removed from the involvement of the casino due to severe allegations against him.

The Previous Controversies of Crown Resorts

This is most certainly not the first time Crown has been under heavy investigation from the government. Back in July 2019, Crown was accused of fast-tracking visa applications for big-spending gamblers flying in from China. This was with the previously mentioned money-laundering allegations which lead to a lengthy inquiry with the national Australian magistrates’ court. These allegations were referred to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity by Attorney-General Christian Porter, raising the profile of the case significantly.

Back in May 2019, James Packer sold half of his stake in Crown Resorts for $1.76 billion to a Macau based entertainment firm. Packer’s investment company confirmed this; they stated that 19.99% of Packer’s stake had been sold to Melco Resorts and Entertainment based in Macau. As we previously mentioned, James Packer would eventually be removed from the company due to allegations of money laundering.

As recent as last week, a former Crown Resorts employee has filed a lawsuit against the company, saying that she was not compensated for her help in kickstarting the operation of building the Barangaroo Hotel. Jenny Jiang was previously arrested in China with 19 other employees for illegal gambling. She has since spoken out to expose the company for its “mistreatment of employees”.

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Sydney nighttime skyline.

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