Crown Casino Sydney opening raises concerns over gambling harm


Anti-gambling groups in Australia have expressed concern about the possible negative impact of the opening of a new skyscraper casino in Sydney Harbour.

On August 8, gaming group Crown officially opened the doors to VIP-only gaming floors at its $2.2 billion (US$1.52 billion) casino complex in Barangaroo after authorities suspended operating licenses for more than a year. opened to

The suspension comes after an investigation led by former Supreme Court Justice Patricia Bergin in late 2020 showed the gambling group was ineligible to operate a casino.

inquiry Crown has found evidence of allowing foreign junket operators likely to be involved in organized crime to conduct business through casinos in Melbourne and Perth.

But earlier this year, the Independent Liquor and Gambling Authority (LGA) of New South Wales (NSW) awarded the crown. conditional approval To open a members-only gaming facility within a newly built restaurant and hotel complex.

In particular, the LGA allowed Crown to operate the facility for a conditional period of 18 to 24 months, during which gambling authorities monitored changes made at Crown Casino Sydney.

New South Wales Gambling Law Amendments

Following the launch of the new casinos, the NSW government announced a week commencing 8 August aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for casino operators to curb organized crime and money laundering activities. We are going to introduce a new law.

At the heart of gambling law and regulatory reforms, a new Casino Commission will be created with enhanced and broader compliance and enforcement powers likely to exceed those of existing authorities.

Additionally, under the reform, casinos will be prohibited from doing business with junket operators.

Epoch Times photo
A person walks past the Crown Casino sign in Melbourne, Australia, March 22, 2021. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)

However, the change in legislation does not diminish social organizations’ concerns about the potential gambling harm associated with Crown’s new casino.

Tim Costello, lead advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said an investigation by the Royal Commission had uncovered a pattern of looting that had caused so much damage at Crown Casino Melbourne.

“Gambling harm was at the forefront and center of the investigation. It is clear that The Crown failed to protect people and instead sought to systematically exploit them,” he said in a statement.

“With the opening of Crown Sydney, we are deeply concerned about the gambling harm that business causes and we are deeply concerned that the NSW Government will not take strong enough measures to protect people, their families and communities across the state. I am afraid.”

Social services lack confidence in crown change

Wesley Mission general manager Jim Wackett echoed Costello’s sentiment, saying he was not convinced Crown could minimize the harm caused by gambling.

“Crown Sydney is marketed as a ‘luxury high roller’ venue, but with table games minimum bets starting at $20, the casino has access to more people than they imply, and a community increase the harm to,” he said.

“This is another example of why Crown cannot be trusted to manage its products in a way that protects the community.

“I want to be clear, the harm of gambling is not just limited. It affects everyone from high rollers to everyday punters. I’m sure it’s making an impact.”

Joanna Quilty, CEO of the New South Wales Social Welfare Council, also said the government needed to do more to address the threat of gambling.

“Problem gambling destroys individuals, families and communities. Often it’s the social services department that picks up the pieces,” she said.

Alfred Bui

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Alfred Bui is an Australian reporter based in Melbourne, focusing on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and holds his two master’s degrees in business and business law. Please contact [email protected]