James Packer strikes deal with NSW regulator to give up board seats

Hannah RyanAAP
James Packer's private company has agreed to give up board seats on Crown until 2024.
Camera IconJames Packer's private company has agreed to give up board seats on Crown until 2024. Credit: AAP

James Packer’s influence at gaming giant Crown Resorts will be greatly diminished under a deal struck to save a Sydney casino.

Mr Packer’s private company has agreed to give up board seats on Crown until 2024, and won’t be able to enter any information-sharing agreements or even initiate discussions with the listed company about its businesses or operations under the agreement reached with the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA).

The company, CPH, holds 37 per cent of Crown stock.

ILGA confirmed the agreement with CPH on Friday, with CPH to record the undertakings in an enforceable legal document.

The agreement also means Mr Packer’s company can’t seek to amend the Crown constitution in a way that affects the management or operation of the business.

It follows discussions between the regulator and CPH about the final report of a damning probe into the casino company, produced by ILGA Commissioner Patricia Bergin.

Ms Bergin was unflattering about Mr Packer’s influence on Crown in her report.

She said his actions were well intentioned but had “rather disastrous consequences” for the company.

Her inquiry exposed secret information-sharing agreements with Mr Packer even after he stepped down from the board, with chief executive Ken Barton sending him daily financial figures and then misleading other shareholders about the arrangement.

The report exposed allegations of money laundering and said the company needed to make sweeping cultural changes if it wanted to be considered a suitable operator.

ILGA withheld the casino licence for the new $2.5 billion Crown Sydney at Barangaroo following the report, which also led to a handful of directors including Mr Barton to step down.

Chairwoman Helen Coonan has promised to work with the ILGA to reform the company to clear the way for a grant of a licence.

Crown also faces royal commissions in Melbourne and Perth.

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