“The previous government had bungled their casinos policy. It was one of the most difficult challenges I inherited. These arrangements will see both casinos pay higher taxes,” Mookhey said.
Crown told staff on Monday that its Barangaroo casino doors will be closed between 2am and 10am from Monday to Thursday and between 4am and 10am on Fridays. It will now open on the weekend at 2pm and close at 4am on Saturdays and 2am on Sundays. The changes come into effect next Wednesday.
Crown and The Star have grappled with expensive remediation costs following historic anti-money laundering failings and tax changes in NSW.
Crown posted a $199 million loss last year, a significant improvement on its near-$1 billion loss in the COVID-19-affected year prior, when it was hit with multiple financial penalties and overhauled the business following historic anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism failings.
A spokesperson from the Blackstone-owned casino operator confirmed the job cuts on Monday and said the bulk of the affected roles will be in frontline gaming operations, with some jobs in casino support and hospitality also likely to be affected.
Crown Sydney’s chief Mark McWhinnie said the business would redeploy “as many people as possible” to its other casinos in Perth and Melbourne and would look to reopen when demand resumes.
“Our priority is to support the 180 impacted team members alongside their union as they determine their next steps,” McWhinnie said.
Crown Sydney was designed to suit international high rollers, with its now-closed mahogany floor boasting 30 private salons. Its customers are now restricted to the crystal floor’s 160 tables and 66 electronic tables instead. As a VIP-only facility, Crown Sydney has no poker machines. A minimum bet of $20 applies.
Crown Sydney was the brain child of former chairman and majority shareholder James Packer, who invested heavily in pitching the Barangaroo tower to Chinese high rollers, who make up about 75 per cent of the global VIP gaming market.
Its strategy has since shifted to bolster the focus on its luxury hotel and many restaurants, following a 2019 investigation by this masthead and 60 Minutes, which revealed Crown had been infiltrated by international criminal syndicates and money launderers.
Since then, government inquiries in the three states where its casinos operate have ruled it unfit to hold a casino licence, and the findings stopped the planned opening of Barangaroo’s $2.2 billion tower in late 2020.
Crown was forced to overhaul its board, management and procedures to satisfy the regulators, who approved a conditional licence for Crown to operate its Barangaroo casino last year.
The conditional licence was recently extended to April 30, 2024.
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