Two Directors Exit Australia's Crown Board after Damning Report

Two Crown Resorts Ltd directors with links to major shareholder James Packer resigned on Wednesday, the first heads to roll after the Australian casino operator was deemed unfit to hold a gambling licence for its new Sydney casino, Reuters reported. The upheaval in the wake of a report commissioned by the state gambling watchdog raised speculation among analysts that the A$6.6 billion ($5.1 billion) company was in play as a takeover target. The report, published on Tuesday, cited Crown’s links to organised crime and the “dysfunctional” influence of Packer as it declared the company unsuitable to hold a gaming licence for the casino in its newly opened A$2.2 billion Sydney waterfront resort tower. The former judge who headed the inquiry, Patricia Bergin, recommended a 10% shareholding limit for all casino operators in New South Wales state, a condition that would require founder Packer to sell down his 36% stake. Packer’s private company CPH said the departures of the executives, and the shift by a third director to independent status, would give Crown “clear air to work with (gaming regulator) ILGA in the execution of its announced reform agenda, and become a model casino operator.” Read more.