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Concern as VIP doors open at Crown Sydney

Crown's casino on Sydney Harbour is opening to VIP wagering after more than a year of delays. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

As gaming group Crown's flagship skyscraper casino on Sydney Harbour finally opens its doors to VIP customers, anti-gambling groups are concerned about the harm caused by gambling.

Only Crown members and guests will be allowed to wager when the Crystal Room gaming floor opens on Monday, with patrons having to undergo comprehensive checks.

Crown had been prevented from opening the high-end casino in its $2.2 billion dining and hotel tower in Barangaroo for more than a year.

The opening was blocked after an inquiry led by former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin found Crown was not fit to operate a casino.

The inquiry heard evidence of foreign junket operators with likely organised crime links being allowed to do business through the casino.

The approval was finally granted earlier this year by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (LGA) for the members-only gaming facilities inside the upscale Barangaroo complex.

This week the NSW government will introduce legislation designed to improve transparency and accountability for casino operators and clamp down on organised crime and money laundering risks.

The centrepiece of the reform will be the establishment of the NSW Independent Casino Commission, which will have enhanced and wide-ranging compliance and enforcement powers likely to extend beyond the existing powers of the existing authority.

Casinos will be banned from dealing with junket operators under the reforms.

The chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, said the Royal Commission into Crown Casino Melbourne exposed a pattern of predatory behaviour that caused great harm.

"Gambling harm was front and centre of the inquiry, it was clear that Crown failed to protect people and instead systematically sought to exploit them," he said in a statement on Monday.

"With the opening of Crown Sydney, we hold deep concerns about the gambling harm its operations will cause, and we are fearful that the NSW government will not put in place strong enough measures to protect people, their families and communities across the state."

Wesley Mission general manager Jim Wackett said he had no confidence in Crown's commitment to minimising gambling harm.

"Crown Sydney is pitched as an 'exclusive high roller' venue, but with minimum table game bets starting from as low as $20, the casino will be accessible to many more people than they imply, increasing harm to the community," he said.

"It is just another example of why we can't trust Crown to administer their products in a way that protects the community.

"To be clear, there's nothing exclusive about gambling harm - it affects high rollers to everyday punters, and we see the full impact on individuals and families through the services we provide."

NCOSS chief executive Joanna Quilty said more needed to be done to address the scourge of gambling.

"Problem gambling destroys individuals, families and communities, and it's often the social services sector that is left to pick up the pieces," she said.

Crown's conditional period, which will run for 18 to 24 months, will allow the LGA to monitor changes made at Crown Sydney.

The once-listed Crown has been taken private by US investment firm Blackstone after a successful $8.9 billion takeover was ticked off in June.

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