NT News

New Crown chief won’t gamble on ‘heartbeat’

- LACHLAN MOFFET GRAY

NEW Crown Resorts boss and former Lendlease CEO Steve McCann says he will do “whatever it takes” to regain the trust of Melburnian­s in its flagship Southbank casino.

But as questions arise about a regulatory break-up of the group, Mr McCann says he still wants to see the gaming giant built by the Packer family maintain control of its Sydney and Perth properties.

While Raymond Finkelstei­n, head of the Victorian royal commission into Crown, finalises his report on whether Crown is suitable to operate the casino, Mr McCann is preparing to uproot his family from Sydney and move to Melbourne.

As the CEO of Crown Resorts – subject to a few remaining regulatory checks – and of the Melbourne casino, Mr McCann is legally obligated to reside in Victoria, a requiremen­t the royal commission found Crown had flouted in the past.

Mr McCann said he was happy to make the move because, as a Melbourne native, he understood how badly Crown’s 22-year relationsh­ip with the city had been damaged by revelation­s of money laundering, problem gaming and underpayme­nt of taxes.

“Melbourne is where Crown began, it is the heartbeat of Crown. We must regain that trust,” he said.

“I am willing to do whatever it takes. I can’t change the past of course; there are wrongdoing­s that we need to get past and we’re under a lot of scrutiny as a result. But what I can do and will do is everything in my power to ensure that they are not repeated.”

Crown is currently battling another royal commission in Perth as well as trying to achieve regulatory approval to operate its Sydney casino, after the NSW Bergin Inquiry this year found the company temporaril­y unsuitable to operate the $2.2bn property.

Its largest extant threat remains Commission­er Finkelstei­n’s self-admitted “parochial” reading of Victoria’s Consolidat­ed Casino Agreement, which requires the operator of the Melbourne casino to maintain it as its “flagship” Australian casino.

It has raised the possibilit­y that the commission could force a break-up or at least force Crown to keep its Sydney or Perth operations smaller than Melbourne’s.

“Crown Sydney is an outstandin­g resort, it will attract tourism, it will attract high-end tourism and a lot of tourists that come to Australia like to spend time in more than one city,” Mr McCann said.

“I think we need to look at how all that works, in the constraint­s of the regulatory environmen­t to maximise state revenue as well and to maximise the opportunit­y to continue to invest in and develop the Melbourne asset as well.”

 ??  ?? Steve McCann.
Steve McCann.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia