James Packer firm reaches agreement with NSW regulator to steer clear of Crowns affairs

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Crowns AU$2.2 billion Crown Sydney towers over Sydney Harbour

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The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) says it has reached an agreement with Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), the private investment firm of James Packer, aimed at ensuring the Australian billionaire stays distanced from the business affairs of Crown Resorts.

The agreement forms a key part of ongoing negotiations between the ILGA and Crown, which was earlier this year deemed unsuitable to retain a state casino license for its AU$2.2 billion Crown Sydney development. Packer is Crowns largest individual shareholder with a 36% stake via CPH.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the ILGA said it had reached an agreement with CPH following lengthy discussions about significant concerns raised in the Bergin Report in February over the influence of CPH and Packer on the management and operation of Crowns yet to open Sydney casino.

Some of the key proposed undertakings by CPH include:

  • not entering into any information sharing arrangements with Crown
  • not initiating any discussions with Crown, other than through public forums, about Crowns businesses or operations
  • not seeking to have its executive or nominee appointed to Crowns board, or requisition a meeting of Crown shareholders to seek the appointment of any person as a director of Crown, before October 2024
  • not seeking any amendment to the Crown constitution which would affect the management or operation of Crowns businesses.
  • The ILGA added that it expects the undertakings outlined in its agreement with CPH to be recorded in an enforceable legal document.

    While the ILGA has found Crown unsuitable to open its Sydney casino based on the recommendations of the Bergin Report, Authority Chair Philip Crawford recently told Inside Asian Gaming that Crown was on track to reach suitability in the coming months.

    I would have thought the second half of this year at some stage is a realistic prospect as long as they can get their structures in place, he said.