At a press conference in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon, NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority Chair Phillip Crawford said the decision was made in light of “extremely concerning ongoing evidence” unearthed at the inquiry.
“We are hopeful that Crown Resorts will agree to our request to postpone opening of all gaming activities, which would be unable to begin without approval of these regulatory matters,” he said.
“The Authority has found ongoing evidence before the Bergin Inquiry to be extremely concerning, that any gaming activity at the casino before the inquiry’s findings are released in February 2021 and considered by the authority would pose unacceptable risks on the community against the public interest.
“In light of this, we did not consider it appropriate to determine the applications before the authority until the findings of the Bergin Inquiry.”
Mr Crawford said the delay will be forced by a deferred decision on regulatory approvals, without which Crown cannot open.
“We’ve deferred consideration of the regulatory approvals — we didn’t want to make any of those approvals today — to our February meeting,” he said.
“Without those approvals they won’t be able to open.”
He said he would consider approving a limited opening of the hotels and bars within the Barangaroo hotel resort next month. This was previously put to Crown, but Mr Crawford said Crown did not take ILGA up on this offer.
“We did suggest originally to Crown that we would be happy to talk to them about a limited opening — that is their hotel, their bars and the restaurants,” he said.