Crown Sydney opens its hotel and restaurants 

By Noah Taylor Updated
Crown Sydney appoints operations veteran to run its new venture

Crown Sydney’s highly anticipated $2.2 billion tower is open for business, with a six-star hotel and string of restaurants ready to go.

The Daily Telegraph reports the restaurant openings remove some of the uncertainty for the James Packer-backed casino group after the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority delayed the opening of its gambling operations.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres welcomed the launch of the restaurants.

“Crown Sydney is so much more than a casino,” Mr Ayres said.

“It’s Sydney’s latest restaurant district, has a raft of new bars and a new hotel that not only raises the bar for Australia but sets a new global standard.”

Liquor licenses have been granted for all nine new restaurants, including the Robert De Niro-owned Japanese chain Nobu.

Mr Ayres said the opening of the iconic 275 metre tower had come at just the right time.

“With its hundreds of new jobs and a building packing some serious pull factor, it’s the boost the Sydney visitor economy needs as we recover from COVID,” he said.

“Government has led the way in fighting the pandemic and mega investments like this should give other businesses the confidence to keep investing, keep improving their service and keep employing people.”

Together with Nobu, the new complex has a Chinese restaurant called Silks, lounge bar Teahouse, hotel lobby bar TWR and a Shanghai-style noodle bar called 88 Noodle.

There are nine live open kitchens in a restaurant called Epicurean and an intimate Japanese restaurant called Yoshii’s Omakase.

There is also Woodcut, which has three open kitchens cooking on wood, charcoal and steam and finally a’Mare, a classic Italian fine-dining restaurant.

Crown Sydney chief executive Peter Crinis said: “Sydney is one of the world’s great cities and it deserves a great hotel. Crown Towers will deliver that and so much more. We have amazing bars and restaurants that will make this an incredible destination. We’re excited to open the doors and let Sydney experience it.”

Crown Melbourne tops list of Aussie junket transactions

The majority of transactions involved junket tours in Australia were at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, a new report has revealed.

The Herald Sun reported that 295 transactions linked with junkets were made in Melbourne, according to figures from Australia’s financial crimes watchdog.

In total, the Victorian casino made 50,000 reports to the watchdog in 2019, including almost 5000 relating to suspicious transactions.

Austrac warned junket tour operators this month they were the target of organised criminal syndicates and foreign spies seeking to launder money through casinos and potentially make political donations.

Junkets bring in high roller gamblers from China to casinos and extend credit to them, enabling them to get around Beijing’s tight controls on capital.

Austrac introduced a new risk assessment that identified some tour operators had links with criminal organisations.

Businesses, including casinos, are required to report any people or transactions that could be linked with crime using a suspicious matter report.

Austrac chief executive Nicole Rose said casinos needed to comply with the rules to disrupt criminal activities, including foreign interference.

“Money laundering and financial crime enables serious criminal activity such as drug trafficking and human trafficking, which causes harm to our communities,” Ms Rose said.

“I urge casinos to take prompt action by assessing their levels of risk posed by junket operators, strengthening their controls and reporting suspicious activity to Austrac.”

Crown confirmed in November it had suspended all junket operators until June 2021 while a “comprehensive review” of company practices was completed.

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