Flat White

James Packer’s slipped Crown: a victim of sleaze – and snobbery

10 February 2021

3:57 PM

10 February 2021

3:57 PM

Melbourne legend tells that days before Crown Casino opened senior police visited the next largest gambling place in town, a less than legal operation than ran in premises on the opposite side of the CBD — premises with plenty of exits into laneways — to tell them that the gig was up. Even Victoria Police could no longer turn a blind eye.

The entrepreneurial Italian gentlemen who ran that show have no doubt discovered how to milk Crown and its patrons in the subsequent years, as have others. Crown management, it appears, has been less than diligent in dealing with the seedy side of the business, so much so that yesterday New South Wales authorities found the company unsuitable to hold the licence for its Barangaroo casino, planned to be the Crown jewel.

This is serious stuff. The NSW gambling regulator has found there is “no doubt” money laundering involving an international drug trafficking syndicate occurred at Crown in Melbourne. It’s a massive blow to James Packer, an individual who for all his brutishness has a pathetic side; a very wealthy piece of damaged goods pursued around the globe by demons. He appears to have been severely brutalised by his own father, Kerry, who in turn was brutalised by his father, Sir Frank. (We need to remember Kerry’s older brother, Clyde Packer, who Kerry and his father drove out of the family firm and out of the country.)

It’s an ugly situation — an ugly situation compounded by bein pensant snobbery.

Crown has always been a massive target for certain classes. First, it was political. It opened on Jeff Kennett’s watch, after all.

Then there’s been the personal. The former Fairfax press has always hated it because they hated Kennett — and because of the Packer link. They’ve never forgiven Kerry for attempting to buy their newspapers, which even in their death throes they still attempt to run as an ABC-style staff soviet.

These people — and their colleagues at the ABC, along with the luvvie brigade and their fellow travellers — have also always regarded Crown as vulgar. Naff, as that great snob Princess Margaret used to say, for these are top-level snobs too, only they suffer from the delusion that their snobbery is socially progressive.

Crown, they say, has always been for bagmen and bogans.

They’ve hated it for the bogans more; hated, denigrated and pursued its operations.

That they actually stumbled across bagmen is simply a bonus.

Too many of the people celebrating James Packer’s discomfort today and the chaos that’s enveloped his company have simply just always been angry that Crown’s casinos exist.

How dare the little people have a flutter when they should be buying artisanal vegan cheese?

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