Celebs take snaps Crown Sydney hotel as casino remains shut 

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
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Crown Resorts’ Sydney casino might be closed, but that hasn’t stopped celebrities and influencers from taking snaps at the new venue in recent weeks.

The ABC reports that comedian Andy Lee, racing heiress Kate Waterhouse and Instagram model Lily Maymac are among those to feature at the hotel’s bars, restaurants and pools on their social media profiles.

A report commissioned by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority deemed Crown Resorts unsuitable to operate the new casino, which has already been built inside the $2.2 billion facility at Barangaroo.

A string of directors have since resigned from the company’s board in the wake of the findings, which have prompted similar probes in Victoria and Western Australia.

Since the bombshell report, celebrities have been fawning over the company’s sparkling new Sydney skyscraper in an apparent marketing blitz.

One Instagram post by reality TV star Anna Heinrich and Tim Robards, carried the hashtag #sponsored and showed the loved up couple canoodling in their lux room.

The restaurants, bars and hotel, where the cheapest room available this Saturday night is $1199, opened in December, while the casino licence was pending.

While the facility may have created a splash on social media, some argue it’s unlikely to reopen the gaming giant’s dwindling revenue stream.

Crown’s bottom-line has been dealt blow after blow with the pandemic halting its VIP high-roller business model.

It has also been forced to halt junket operations, its Melbourne and Perth venues face upcoming investigations and it’s scrambling to prove itself fit to hold a Sydney casino licence.

The company recently posted a half-yearly loss of $120 million and five board members have resigned in the wake of the damning Bergin report handed down in February.

Experts claim Crown’s strategy helps keep momentum in business 

Creative agent Sam Kelly, also a member of the Australian Influencer Marketing Council, said the initial launch of Crown Sydney across social media in the midst of a crisis had been successful, so far.

“I’m not privy to their strategy but looking from the outside these sorts of talent posts are the only form of marketing I’ve seen out of the venue,” he said.

“I think it has been quite subtle in its approach but I think it has been quite effective. Maybe the days of seeing billboards and television commercials are a thing of the past?”

It is to be seen, however, if the casino operator can keep up the momentum.

“Any sort of shor.t form burst of advertising or PR has a halo effect and a moment, whether it’s a television commercial or an influencer in your feed, you have a short-term spark,” he said.

“It’s really effective in driving brand awareness but then that does wear off.”

Crown Resorts would not detail the nature of its launch strategy when contacted by the ABC, but corporate governance researcher and author Maria dela Rama said the campaign would do little to repair the company’s reputation.

“Crown is a company in crisis and it will take quite a while to fix this crisis,” De dela Rama said.

“Crown’s synonymy with gambling begs the question of how it can reframe itself now as a hotelling company in the absence of a casino licence.”

Dr dela Rama suggested the company ended to completely clean out its board and avoid hiring any former bureaucrats or former government leads to start completely new.

The ILGA inquiry, she said, showed the company had behaved unethically and the path forward for it to salvage itself was clear.

Commissioner Bergin found the company facilitated money laundering and blamed many of the company’s problems on “poor corporate governance, deficient risk management structures and processes and a poor corporate culture.”

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