Who would have thought? Sydney’s Crown casino opening blocked due to major money laundering concerns

The opening of Crown’s Sydney casino is in serious doubt after they admitted that money laundering could be taking place.

Poor James Packer is having to put off the opening of his prized possession, the Crown Sydney casino in Barangaroo, after the company admitted that the Crown’s bank accounts may have been showing signs of money laundering.

The now-tallest building in Sydney was set for a grand opening next month, but the plans to open the casino part of it will now be on hold until at least February 2021.

Crown Casino, Money Laundering
Photo: Skyscraper City

An inquiry triggered by a report into money laundering by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age found that drug traffickers may have been laundering money through private companies owned by Crown Resorts.

Until Tuesday, Crown lawyers had argued against the allegations; however, they have now admitted that perhaps there may be something dodgy going on.

Crown’s counsel Robert Craig, SC said in a statement, “Crown accepts that there were funds deposited into the Riverbank and Southbank accounts that Initialism has found to be indicated of ‘cuckoo smurfing’ – it is indicative of a form of money laundering.”

In response, NSW’s Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) banned Crown Resorts from opening the casino in December.

It’s come at the 11th hour – literally. That gives us great concern because we’re talking about money laundering,” ILGA Chairman, Philip Crawford said.

We’re talking about – potentially – drugs, we’re talking about child exploitation, we’re talking about people trafficking and we’re talking about financing terrorism.” 

While such serious allegations would usually be enough to put the whole project on hold, lucky enough for the Packer family, they are still going through with the opening of the $2.2 billion building and its 14 bars and restaurants – just without the casino.

In a statement, the company said, “Crown will focus on opening the non-gaming operations at Crown Sydney, in consultation with ILGA, in the absence of the commencement of gaming operations.”

Let’s hope Crown can get this all sorted out soon because we are in real need of another casino in Sydney.