The Bergin Report
Last week the Bergen Report was published into Crown resorts and their fitness to hold a licence to run gambling activities at the new Crown Resort, Sydney at Barangaroo. Commissioner Patricia Bergin recommended several changes that Crown would have to make before it could run the casino in its 2.2 billion Australian dollar Sydney tower.
The Crown Resort Sydney still has a liquor licence that has allowed its restaurants, bars and guest rooms to open in the Barangaroo precinct last December while Bergin completed her inquiry. Her recommendations include a forensic probe to make sure all money laundering in Crown accounts has been uncovered. She also recommended a restructuring of Crown’s board of directors.
The report was commissioned by the ILGA who will now consider the recommendations that were put forward in the Bergin Report.
Crown enters two-day trading halt
Crown Resorts has issued a two-day trading halt as the James Packer-backed company awaits the final report from a year-long NSW investigation into the the $6.5 billion company’s suitability to hold a gaming licence at its flagship Barangaroo casino in Sydney.
Shares in the embattled company have plunged 44 per cent to $9.60 but has now lifted back up to $10.22 after the report was released
Crown fallout begins as two directors stand down
The fallout from the release of the Bergin Report into Crown Resorts’ suitability to hold a NSW casino license has begun with two directors stepping down Wednesday morning.
Crown announced via an ASX filing that Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston – two of the three Board representatives from James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Ltd (CPH) – had resigned, cutting the current number of serving directors to eight.
According to a statement published by The Sydney Morning Herald, CPH has also immediately ended a consultancy agreement with the third Board member, John Poynton, who will instead look to remain with Crown as an independent director.
“The steps announced today take them off the table, giving Crown’s board clear air to work with ILGA in the execution of its announced reform agenda and become a model casino operator.”
The departure of Jalland and Johnston means that refreshment of Crown’s board is now well and truly underway following the retirement late last year of former Executive Chairman John Alexander. Another, John Horvath, has also promised to step down.
Crown director Andrew Demetriou resigns
Crown Resorts director Andrew Demetriou has resigned from the embattled gambling giant. Mr Demetriou handed in his resignation to chairman Helen Coonan on Thursday night. He is stepping down “immediately” as both a director of Crown Resorts and Chairman of Crown Melbourne.
Helen Coonan fights to save Sydney casino.
Helen Coonan is the former federal politician and government minister who is currently chair of the Crown Board.
There are calls now coming from within the business community for Coonan, who has been on the board for a decade, to also consider her position, following resignations of other board members. Philip Crawford, chair of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, said at some point Coonan should “probably” step down.
Crown Sydney may still open with no Packer involvement, and a fresh board
While the Bergin report found that Crown was not suitable to hold a casino licence, the report outlined steps that could make the group suitable again and avoid its licence being revoked. Under the deal signed by the NSW government and Crown to open Sydney’s second casino, the regulator was contractually bound to work with Crown to try and make it suitable.
However, Philip Crawford, chair of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, has warned Crown there’s no guarantee it will get that approval. It will be up to Coonan to make that happen and fast. “I’ve told her to get cracking and so far, things are starting to move pretty quickly,” he says.