CASINO

Crown denies purchasing Sri Lankan property, won’t pursue legal action against scammers

TAGs: Crown Ltd., crown melbourne, James Packer, Sri Lanka

crown-melbourne-casino-heistRepresentatives of Australian casino operator Crown Ltd. have denied Sri Lankan media reports that Crown boss James Packer has made a deal to purchase property in Colombo on which to build an integrated resort casino. The Colombo Page reported last week that Packer had purchased a property in the center of the city near Beria Lake. Since then, The Age quoted Sri Lanka’s Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena backing up Crown’s denials, saying the government had asked Crown to come up with a proposal but Packer’s people “have not finalized the area and the amount they are going to invest.” Packer has visited Sri Lanka three times in the past six weeks, scouting locations and coaxing tax concessions from politicians.

Perhaps Packer needs a few extra millions in tax breaks to cover the reported $32m heisted from Crown Melbourne last month. The alleged inside job reportedly consisted of a member of Crown’s own security team feeding info to a VIP baccarat player via wireless device. While the specifics of the scheme were never made public, similar scams at casinos in Macau and South Korea have involved a staff member installing a micro-camera inside a card shoe and then relaying the upcoming card values to the player via a radio earpiece.

The VIP at the center of the heist was reportedly ousted from his comped luxury suite in the middle of the night by irate Crown execs after the subterfuge was exposed, but that’s apparently the extent of the punishment he’ll have to face. Crown may have alerted Victorian police about the heist, but the Herald Sun reported this week that neither the VIP nor his inside man will face further scrutiny by law enforcement. Amazingly, beyond banning the VIP and sacking the employee, Crown has decided not to pursue the matter further. When the scam was first revealed, Crown said it was confident it could recover the lost millions, although it declined to offer specifics. Curiouser and curiouser…

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