The street brawl involving James Packer (pictured) – who’s a co-chairman of Macau casino investor Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd as well as chairman of Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd – is highly unlikely to have any negative impact on his standing as a casino licensee, according to gaming lawyers and regulators spoken to by GGRAsia.
Mr Packer and his fight partner and friend David Gyngell, chief executive of television channel owner Nine Entertainment Co, have been issued with criminal infringement notices over the spat near Sydney’s Bondi Beach on May 4. But lawyers in Australia have described the notices as “akin to parking fines”.
One gaming lawyer told GGRAsia by e-mail: “it certainly should not have adverse implications for Packer’s suitability. It may assist the anti-gambling interests in places like Sri Lanka (in terms of claimed negative effects they might experience from opening up to such people, etc), but I don’t think it will get much airtime.”
In April the Australian media reported that the Las Vegas casino-hotel The Cosmopolitan might be sold to a company controlled by Mr Packer. Were that to happen, and the venue were to retain gaming, it would mean Mr Packer would need to pass the suitability test of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Chapter 463 of the Nevada Revised Statutes refers to the need for Nevada licensees to be: “(a) A person of good character, honesty and integrity; and (b) A person whose prior activities, criminal record, if any, reputation, habits and associations do not pose a threat to the public interest of this State or to the effective regulation and control of gaming…”
In the state of Victoria, Australia, where Mr Packer is licensed to run Crown Melbourne, the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 specifies that only gaming-related offences under the Act, or “an offence (wherever occurring) involving fraud or dishonesty punishable on conviction by imprisonment for three months or more (whether or not in addition to a fine),” would be grounds for disciplinary action.
In New South Wales, where Sydney is located, if a criminal complaint is made as a result of a criminal infringement notice being issued, the matter can carry on conviction a maximum of three months in prison.
If uncontested, as in this case, the fine is A$500 (US$470) and no conviction is recorded. The New South Wales government increased the amount from A$200 in February as part of a range of measures to combat alcohol-fuelled violence on the streets of Australia’s largest city.
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Adjusted EBITDA reported by Asian casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment for the fourth quarter of 2020