(Reuters) -Australia's biggest state on Wednesday cleared casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd to take bets at a A$2.2 billion ($1.5 billion) Sydney casino, a breakthrough after a years-long money-laundering scandal crippled its growth plans. The decision by the New South Wales gambling regulator ends a state of limbo for Crown's new waterfront resort, which had its licence suspended just before opening 17 months ago amid claims of shirking anti-money laundering rules and dysfunctional governance at its other assets. It also brings a bittersweet resolution for the company's billionaire founder and 37% shareholder James Packer, who spent years campaigning for permission to build the skyscraper, Sydney's tallest, which he once called his gift to his home city.
The approval follows nods from state regulators in Western Australia (WA), New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria last week, and gives billionaire James Packer an exit route from the Australian casino firm, beset by scandals and regulatory setbacks, in which he owns a 37% stake. "Crown will also request that quotation of Crown shares on the ASX be suspended from close of trading today," the company said in a statement.
(Reuters) -Australian gambling regulators have cleared private equity giant Blackstone Inc to run the troubled casinos of Crown Resorts Ltd in the country's two largest cities, a crucial but largely expected step in its $6.3 billion buyout. The Sydney-listed target that is 37% owned by billionaire James Packer has been under pressure for years since damaging inquiries found it enabled money laundering, while COVID-19 lockdowns and border closures battered its profit and shares. Crown has since backed Blackstone's buyout offer as a way for investors to exit what has become a volatile investment, while analysts have said the sheen of new ownership might speed up efforts to show regulators it has overhauled its governance.