Any land-based casino moves quite a bit of money around on any given day. They are also routinely visited by various patrons of questionable character. The mob ran early Las Vegas as a way to easily launder cash. One casino mogul down under in Australia has recently been tied to organized crime for the same reasons.
James Parker owns and operates Crown Resorts Ltd. His net worth makes him a billionaire. Along with his high profile as a casino mogul, he has made the news for other reasons as well. An ongoing clash with Chinese authorities comes to mind. As does aborted business deals.
Also brought to light are ongoing accusations of Crown’s ties to illegal agents. Hearings have started in relation to the use of agents linked to unsavory groups such as:
- Drug Gangs
- Human Traffickers
- Money Launderers
The main purpose of these connections was to attract wealthy gamblers to the company’s casinos. The ultimate goal of this probe is tied to Crown’s casino gambling licenses. The one property is a multi-billion-dollar Sydney harborside gaming development. Packer has championed this cause for the last decade. The total market value of Crown is $8 billion. Parker holds a 37 percent stake.
The centerpiece harborside casino and resort is slated to open towards the end of the year. The timing of this investigation will definitely not help the cause. Some of the past allegations against Crown Resorts LTD have impacted play from big-time gamblers in Melbourne and Perth. Those casinos attract the same type of gamblers targeted for Sydney.
Adding to the company’s problems is the coronavirus. This has led to travel restrictions on Chinese travelers into Australia.
There was already a downward trend in high roller action going back to last year. Over the last six months of 2019, revenue from this group was down 34 percent.
Parker will be called as a witness in the court proceedings. Thrust into the spotlight, this is not what he needs right now. Also on the witness list is Lawrence Ho. He is the CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Operating in the Macao casino industry, he bought a stake in Crown last year.
There is quite a bit at stake with the hearing’s outcome. Reports by Nine Entertainment Co. news source last July link an Asian crime syndicate with money laundering activity.
This was done through Crown’s casinos. Junket operators in China have also been tied to drug traffickers
Roy Wheatley is the head of Global Consulting & Development. He runs a business advisory in Australia geared towards the gaming and hotel industry. His statements on the proceedings included:
“It’s going to be like a car crash. People won’t be able to look away.” Packer’s private investment company is Consolidated Press Holdings. A company spokesperson had no comment on the current situation. Crown had previously gone on record as saying this was part of a “deceitful campaign” to damage the company’s reputation”.
• Source: A Billionaire’s Casino Is in the Spotlight Over Triad Claims From Bloomberg.com On February 22, 2020.