Blackstone’s A$8.9 billion ($6.3 billion) acquisition of Crown Resorts has taken a step forward with regulators in New South Wales and Victoria finding the U.S. investment group suitable to hold a license
Crown Resorts is expected to be given the go-ahead to open a casino at its new Barangaroo resort in Sydney and is advertising for gaming staff, local media reports.
Crown Resorts’ strong financial profile has helped it to weather the Covid crisis and still maintain a buffer that will allow it to absorb regulatory fines at its current rating level, Fitch said.
Crown Resorts said it has been fined A$80 million ($54.4 million) for the illegal use of China UnionPay cards and warned it may be facing further punitive damages.
The Victorian government has proposed new legislation that will further enhance the compliance and enforcement powers of its gaming regulator as part of its oversight of Crown Resorts.
Crown Resorts’ shareholders have voted in favor of an A$8.9 billion ($6.3 billion) takeover offer from Blackstone, although the U.S. investor has still not cleared Australian regulatory hurdles.
A proposed tax increase on electronic gaming machines at Crown Melbourne is likely to trim between 3 to 5 percent from EBITDA from 2024 onwards, says J.P. Morgan, which has cut its price target and rating for the group.
Crown Resorts’ group chief risk officer Steven Blackburn has conceded that the company had fallen foul in relation to a number of allegations brought on by AUSTRAC, which has commenced civil penalty proceedings against the company as of last week.
The Perth Casino Royal Commission in Western Australia wound up its inquiry on Friday, though it's likely to be another month before Crown Resorts hears whether it will be deemed suitable to retain its license.
ASIC has defended its decision to not commence proceedings against ten former Crown directors for potential breaches of director duties, saying that the regulator did not have enough to build an actionable case against them.