Crown Resorts’ new $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino, which was slated to open next month, has been blocked from opening pending the outcome of an inquiry into allegations that the group’s bank accounts were used to launder money. Philip Crawford, chairperson of the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA), told media today that the authority had requested the opening be delayed until the inquiry’s findings are handed down early next year.
The move comes after Crown conceded to the Bergin inquiry that two of its bank accounts have been used to launder money at its Melbourne and Perth casinos, potentially obscuring criminal activity, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The counsel assisting the inquiry has argued that Crown’s inability to prevent money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth casinos is evidence that it is unfit to keep the licence for its Sydney casino.
The announcement means that opening of Crown’s hotel, restaurants and other non-gaming facilities – originally slated for December – hangs in the balance. But Crawford told press the ILGA is willing to work with the company on options for opening those facilities before the inquiry’s findings are handed down.