Crown Release Statement Denying Barton’s Resignation

Crown Resorts has released a statement denying that, following media reports to the contrary, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Ken Barton has resigned.

Extreme scrutiny and pressure

After a scathing study indicated that the company is not fit to run the $2.2 billion Crown Sydney Hotel Resort, the Australian business finds itself under extreme scrutiny and pressure.

The group notes, posting an ASX update, that “Crown and Mr. Barton are continuing to consider his position having regard to the recommendations and findings of the Commissioner’s report of the inquiry under section 143 of the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW).”

Andrew Demetriou, however, has resigned as Crown director and Crown Melbourne Limited chairman, joining Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston, who quit similar posts earlier in the week.

800-page criticism of Crown’s suitability

This follows a commissioned report by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority detailing an 800-page criticism of Crown’s suitability for the aforementioned land, with a range of recommendations found in it on the casino environment of the area and the business more specifically.

Overhaul of the board of the company

Among these was the guidance for an overhaul of the board of the company, with questions posed in the study about three criticized directors, Barton, Demetriou, and Johnston.

Recommendations included an amendment to the Casino Control Act to preclude Junket operators from negotiating with casino operators in New South Wales; the creation of an Independent Casino Commission; and that a person may not obtain, retain or sell an interest of 10 percent or more in a state casino licensee.

Criticism is warranted

A response to the report was released by Helen Coonan, Chairperson of Crown Resorts, arguing that reports of serious behaviour, culture and enforcement problems “do not align with our values,” but acknowledging that “criticism is warranted,” and reiterating “our unreserved apologies for these shortcomings.”

She also added: “While we have already taken a number of important steps to improve our governance, compliance and culture, I recognise from the commissioner’s report we have much more to do. 

“We do not underestimate the scale of the problem and appreciate there is a need for ‘root and branch’ change. This change has commenced.”