The Crown Saga Continues


If you’re a regular reader of Australian Casino Sites, then you know it’s been a tough couple of years for Crown Resorts. They’ve been accused of everything from maintaining criminal ties to turning a blind eye to money laundering. Even worse, in many cases they’ve essentially admitted wrongdoing, and numerous commissions have convened to determine whether or not they could keep their casino licenses.

Well, the saga continues, and this post details some of the most recent developments.

CEO Stepping Down

On Tuesday, Crown Resorts announced that Xavier Walsh would be stepping down from his role as CEO of Crown Melbourne. Walsh has only held the position since December of 2020, although he’s been with the company since 2008.

During the Royal Commission hearings, Walsh has been the subject of much criticism. In fact, he’s one of only two senior executives that the General Counsel deemed unsuitable to be associated with Crown Resorts.

His current role will end on August 20th, although he’ll officially maintain employment until December 9th. Crown will select an interim replacement after consulting with the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Possible Financial Losses

According to global investment firm Credit Suisse, Crown Melbourne could lose AU$2 billion if they’re required to break apart. The most likely scenario for this would be if Crown lost their Victorian casino license.

As you might expect, such an event would also have repercussions for the parent company. Crown Resorts has a current share price of AU$10.10, but it’s estimated that it would fall to AU$7.50 without the Melbourne casino.

However, Larry Gandler and Bradley Beckett, both financial analysts for Credit Suisse Australia, think that such an event is unlikely. According to them:

“This is not a political statement but rather a financial one: We think the Victorian Government may offer a path for redemption – that is, amending the Casino Control Act to allow Crown Resorts to transition from unsuitable to suitable.”

Overhead view of Crown Towers at Crown Perth.

Perth Execs Distance Themselves

Crown Perth is fighting to keep its casino license. In order to do so, it appears that they’re seeking to distance themselves from their parent company.

On Monday, former chief legal officer Joshua Preston said that, “Perth was very much alone in the Crown group.” He noted a difference in group culture and practices, mainly due to the independence of their governing board.

It also came to light that the Perth board went five months without a meeting, while the main Crown board met 18 times during the same period. Some prior Perth meetings lasted under 30 minutes, which isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation.

Playing the COVID Card

On Tuesday, a Crown lawyer argued that a forced sale or license cancellation would have dire consequences for the company’s employees and investors. This shows how desperate the company has become and how low they’re willing to sink.

According to Crown lawyer Michael Borsky, “There would, on any view, be enormous disruption and possible financial for so many, when so many are already living under great uncertainty and hardship as a result of the pandemic.”

He then went on to mention Crown’s 46,000 minor investors, as well as their 11,500 employees in Victoria. Borsky also brought up Crown’s status as the largest single-site employer in Victoria. Surprisingly, he refrained from pulling out a violin and playing a mournful tune.