Casino integrity group in the works 

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Journalist wins award for breaking Crown Resorts junket story

A new national integrity group for Australia’s casinos is being developed.

The Australian Business Review reports a former deputy commissioner of the New South Wales police is working with Crown Resorts to establish the group, allowing the nation’s casinos, casino regulators and law enforcement bodies to share information on organised crime and other issues affecting the industry.

Nick Kaldas, who worked for eight years with the Australian National Counter-Terrorism Committee, told a public inquiry into Crown and regulation of the casino industry this week that the idea for the new group came from Crown as part of a review of its compliance systems.

In January, Mr Kaldas signed a consulting arrangement with Crown to provide independent advice to the casino company’s board through the risk management committee to help improve its anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing practices.

“It’s simply facilitating connectivity between Crown and law enforcement agencies,” he told the inquiry about his role.

“I am also working on a process by which they may be able to carry out due diligence in China and other places.”

Mr Kaldas said a wider initiative, underway at Crown’s initiation, was the formation of a national group to share intelligence.

“One of the proposals is in relation to a committee or board that may bring together all stakeholders to discuss issues of the day and look at solutions to deal with those issues,” Mr Kaldas said of the group, which would have a formal secretariat and membership.

“The vision would be that law enforcement, regulatory agencies and other government agencies that have an interest may be invited.”

He said the agencies involved needed to be both federal and state-based to make best use of national intelligence and state-based police forces.

Former Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie told the inquiry last month that allowing better cooperation between state gaming regulators, police and financial intelligence agency Austrac could be the key to preventing international organised crime infiltrating the nation’s casinos.

Mr Craigie said too often there was a significant lag between a casino or regulator detecting signs of possible money laundering through a casino and action being taken by law enforcement bodies.

The police commissioners in various states have a wide discretionary power to exclude a person from a casino in their state of jurisdiction without the need for them to be charged or convicted of a criminal offence.

In recent weeks, the inquiry has heard of Crown’s associations with junket operators linked to organised crime and highlighted how its casinos were used for money laundering.

The Crown board and its major shareholder, Mr Packer, as well as executives of his private company Consolidated Press Holdings, are due to appear before the inquiry at the end of the month.

Crown Sydney project on track despite coronavirus pandemic

 The growing demand for casino gaming options in Australia is being linked with the construction of luxury integrated resorts.

 So Much Poker reported in June that Sydney’s second casino is set to open this year.

The $2.2 billion project will inevitably change the state of Australia’s gambling operations.

 Crown’s arrival means there is a rival to Star Sydney, with the newest waterfront establishment is also designed to frame the views of Sydney Harbour’s icons standing at a 275-metre-high.

 Crown Sydney is located in the stylish Barangaroo district. 

The development is built to “redefine luxury as the newest sanctuary in the city” and become a pinnacle of modern design”, Crown said.

Crown Sydney will feature a 5-star hotel hosting a total of 349 guest rooms and suites along with its signature restaurants and bars, luxury retail outlets and lavish pool and spa facilities. 

Premium gaming areas are set to have around 120 gaming tables when it opens later this year and VIP gaming facilities will also be available in Crown’s members-only casino. 

Bets of between $20 and $30 will be the standard minimum which casino industry experts note is on-par with general recreational gambling.

The complex also boasts of high class apartments located on the upper floors of the building.

Homeowners at Crown Residences Barangaroo are set to move in during the first half of 2021. 

The fascinating tower, which can be seen all across the city, is fitted to have an astonishing 50 different types of marble and stone used throughout the building, 50 custom made crystal light installations and a multitude of greenery, altogether bringing indulgence and sophistication for its clientele. 

1,800 pieces of artwork, the majority of which are made by local artists will also be showcased throughout the development, adding great design to an already captivating façade.

Lendlease Group chief executive and managing director Steve McCann said that when complete, Barangaroo will be transformed from a disused industrial site to a world-class urbanisation district.

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