SYDNEY, AAP – The NSW gaming regulator has emphatically backed Crown Resorts chair Helen Coonan as the embattled casino giant prepares to release its half yearly profit results.
The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority chairman Philip Crawford says it’s vital Ms Coonan remains at the helm after the resignation of chief executive Ken Barton and three directors in the wake of a scathing report which found the company unsuitable to hold a casino licence.
“I need her to stick around,” Mr Crawford told 2GB radio on Thursday.
“Crown’s in crisis management and I’m delighted I’ve got someone to talk to. If she was gone I don’t know who we’d have to talk to,” he said.
The future of director Harold Mitchell is hanging in the balance, with Mr Crawford saying “he needs to move on”.
“Watch this space,” he said.
The future of Crown’s $2.5 billion casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo would be decided in “weeks or months”.
“We want to give them the opportunity to see if they can fix up their problems,” Mr Crawford said.
“If they can’t … the licence will go.
“They’ve got to get on with it as quickly as they can.”
The independent report into Crown by Commissioner Patricia Bergin exposed allegations of money laundering and said the company needed to make sweeping cultural changes if it wanted to be considered a suitable operator.
It means the casino component of Crown’s harbourside skyscraper is in limbo, while a hotel and restaurants in the tower have already opened.