Western Australia grants Blackstone approval for Crown Resorts takeover

Crown Resorts Melbourne, Victoria

Blackstone is to seek approval from the Federal Court of Australia regarding its impending takeover of Crown Resorts after Western Australia added its approval to the agreement.

The latest regulatory green-light follows similar such action that has previously been gained in Victoria and New South Wales, but comes with a series of conditions attached.

Western Australia’s independent casino regulator and Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti has also asserted that the state expects Crown, Blackstone and the Perth-based property to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standard of governance and operations.

“As the prospective new owner of the Perth Casino, Blackstone will be required to meet a number of stringent conditions,” Butti explained.

“These conditions align with a number of the recommendations stemming from the recent Perth Casino Royal Commission. 

“The state government has already made significant improvements to the regulatory regime and remains committed to establishing an even tougher regulatory and governance framework to ensure whoever owns or runs Perth’s casino is held to account. 

“The conditions on Blackstone, combined with upcoming reforms, will ensure appropriate standards are upheld at Perth’s Casino.” 

The approval has been issued subject to an array of conditions, including enhanced reporting of anti-money laundering and responsible gambling activities and additional auditing requirements, as well as non-interference requirements to prevent Blackstone investors from involvement in the day-to-day operations of the Perth property.

Furthermore, there’s also an obligation to report any investigations by any Australian or overseas regulators; with the investment group also unable to change its corporate structure and funding arrangements without providing prior notice and relevant approvals. This means Blackstone will not be able to introduce new investors into the structure without approval. 

Lanie Chopping, Gaming and Wagering Commission Chair, commented: “Blackstone has been subject to an extensive probity assessment by the Gaming and Wagering Commission. 

“This detailed and complex process undertaken since the application was submitted last year involved the comprehensive independent assessment of relevant Blackstone entities in accordance with the legislative requirements. 

“The Gaming and Wagering Commission’s probity approval has been granted subject to a number of conditions designed to ensure that the Commission has oversight and the capacity to monitor any change in licensee management or ownership”