Crown Resorts has been approved to open its Barangaroo casino just as it is set to be taken over by US private equity firm Blackstone.
No launch date for the casino was given, although the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority did issue a conditional license that runs through December 31st of this year. The move comes as the regulator's Chairman Philip Crawford said that Crown has taken steps to rectify its past issues, but there is still work to do before the company will be granted an unconditional license.
"They can't say they're suitable day one," Crawford said. "We want to see them operating. Particularly, embedding in their culture. The things they've told us they're going to do."
"It will be a matter for them now, in consultation with Blackstone, as to when they actually commence gaming."
Blackstone is taking over operations on Friday, paying out billions in dollars to investors that own stock in Crown. The company had previously been found unfit to operate a casino in Sydney, leading to the company clearing out its board of directors and high-level executives in order to start fresh. The company's Barangaroo property opened in 2020 with its high-end hotel, restaurants, and bars in place, albeit without its gambling floor being active.
Current Crown CEO Steve McCann spoke about the licensing, noting: "Over the past 15 months, we have worked closely with ILGA to ensure we have the right measures in place for the commencement of gaming in Sydney, and we will continue to work with them on our reform program to showcase our suitability as a casino operator and demonstrate our ability to deliver exceptional experiences in a safe and responsible environment.
"We will now finalise our opening plans and look forward to shortly announcing the details and timing of our launch."
Ed, you gonna visit and give us the sitrep?