Crown Sydney VIP Casino Officially Opens August 8

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has given the green light for Crown Sydney to finally open its casino on August 8.

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has given the green light for Crown Resorts to open its VIP casino at its Sydney property. Crown Sydney, in Barangaroo, opened more than a year ago, yet its casino remains under lock and key. However, August 8 sees the shackles removed under the watchful eyes of the ILGA.

The 2021 Bergin Inquiry deemed Crown unsuitable to hold a gaming licence in Sydney. This meant the $2.2 billion luxury complex opened its lavish restaurants and hotel rooms, but patrons still cannot enjoy the many casino games and pokies. That changes a week on Monday.

Philip Crawford, the ILGA chairperson, explained how Crown’s rebuilding and restructuring swayed the ILGA into allowing casino operations at Crown Sydney.

“After more than one year’s work with Crown, the Authority is pleased to have reached a stage where Crown can open its casino operations on a conditional basis. Given the need to observe the changes in operation as well as ensure the business embeds the changes, the Authority will consider approval of Crown’s suitability until the end of the conditional gaming period, which could run between 18 months and two years. The new systems and internal control measures have been set up and will be in place from day one.”

Crown CEO Delighted With Crown Sydney Casino Opening

Crown Sydney opened its doors in December 2020. The property has quickly established itself as an in-demand dining and leisure facility. Visitors flock to critically acclaimed eateries such as Oncore by Clare Smyth, Nobu, and more.

Crown’s recently appointed CEO, Steve McCann, welcomed the ILGA’s decision.”

The hotel rooms, restaurants, and bars bring in stacks of cash. However, the money generated is nothing compared to pokies, roulette, and blackjack tables.

“Today is an important day for Crown, our customers and our people, who have been eagerly awaiting this announcement for some time and cannot wait to share the full Crown Sydney experience with the world.”

“Our vision is to become one of the most respected operators of integrated resorts anywhere in the world. Since it opened, Crown Sydney has provided the city with an unrivalled level of luxury accommodation, restaurants and bars and now, with the opening of gaming, we can offer our full suite of world-class facilities.”

“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.”

New Casino Provides $100 Million in Tax Revenues

Once open to the public, the Crown Sydney casino will contribute $100 million in gaming tax revenues. This figure is much less than the numbers promised to then-Premier Barry O’Farrell back in 2013.

The Australian casino and gambling picture is very different since the sanctioning of the new casino resort. First, COVID-19 happened, decimating international travel, particularly from China. A lack of well-heeled Chinese VIPs travelling to Australia significantly reduces gross gambling yield. In addition, Crown no longer uses junkets to bring in super-wealthy travellers.

However, the biggest thorn in Crown’s side is that Crown Sydney is not permitted to house pokies. The casino has electronic gaming machines that are strikingly similar to pokies but are not the same thing. Revenue from pokies makes up a huge percentage of Crown Resorts’ overall revenue and profit. For example, Crown Perth received $306 million from its poker machines.

Crown Resorts new owners Blackstone Group paid $8.9 billion for all Crown stock. It is unlikely the American giant will sit back and not have pokies at Crown Sydney. Expect some form of lobbying in the not too distant future.