Where Star has only just begun to clean up – having chased away most of his senior management and board in recent weeks – Crown is well on its way to a regulatory renaissance.
Crown has an all-new senior management team, a new board, and has devoted tens of millions of resources to managing risk.
That said, the state government and its gaming regulator, ILGA, will likely be cautious about the Crown Sydney license – which will be conditionally and provisionally granted for a period of time.
Likewise, Crown was able to keep its casino license after the royal commission in its eligibility, but only under independent supervision.
The timing of the NSW state government’s decision to allow Crown to start gaming is certainly curious.
Just a few weeks ago, ILGA’s public inquiry into Star’s eligibility to hold a casino license ended with counsel recommending that the test fail.
Like Crown, the Star investigation revealed the damaging trials and tribulations of an organization that is in ethical and cultural decline and open to infiltration by organized crime. The Crown Royal Commission report described Crown Melbourne’s management as disgraceful and its practices illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative.
The council assisting the NSW investigation into Star said the failure to manage risk, due diligence and oversight of the lucrative VIP “junket” business extended to the very top of the organization, including former chief executive officer Matt bekier.
The opticism of the NSW government stamping the Barangaroo opening while Star’s transgressions were still in the spotlight would have been unfortunate.