Controversy over James Packer’s political influence in Australia has spread from his home base of Victoria to New South Wales, where at least one state lawmaker has demanded that censored information be made public relating to the potential for organized crime influence at his planned high-roller casino in Sydney.
Agreements between the state’s Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and Packer’s Crown Resorts setting out the rules for the casino—including who may enter, the types of games that may be played, minimum bet limits and tax rates—were made public in September. But sections of one document, the “VIP gaming management agreement,” were redacted by the authority, which claimed its release could be commercially damaging to Crown.
Crown Sydney, as the Darling Harbour resort is known, is slated to open in November 2019 with a license awarded by the NSW government on the basis of the company’s pledge that it will operate as a “restricted gambling facility,” without slot machines, and will cater to members only.
Packer has said the casino will be marketed to wealthy Asian high rollers, predominantly from China, meaning Crown is likely to partner with Chinese junket operators, and that has raised concerned about the possibility of involvement by organized crime groups and money laundering.
The NSW Parliament’s upper house, the Legislative Council, was scheduled to vote on whether to release the secret material.