Weekly Journal

Cards fall Crown’s way in casino licence ruling

Crown let punters gamble for up to 24 hours without a break, falsely claimed tax deductions and breached anti-money laundering laws – but it won’t lose its Melbourne online casino real money licence.

The gaming giant has been deemed suitable to continue holding the state’s only casino licence, with the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission revealing its long-awaited decision on Tuesday.

A state royal commission, If you beloved this post and you would like to acquire a lot more data regarding www.crypto-vegas.com kindly pay a visit to our web site. headed by former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein QC, in 2021 found Crown’s conduct was “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative”.

But it stopped short of suggesting the company be stripped of the licence and instead gave it two years to reform under the oversight of a special manager before the regulator gave its ultimate ruling.

Regulator chair Fran Thorn said the systemic failings unearthed at Crown Melbourne were a “thing of the past”.

“The significant turnaround by Crown Melbourne does not mean that Crown Melbourne will never slip-up again and when this happens we will act,” she told reporters.

Following separate inquiries in Victoria, NSW and Western Australia, Crown was fined $700 million for breaches including wrongly claiming tax deductions, flouting responsible gambling regulations and failing to follow anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

No one has faced criminal charges, with Crown Resorts chair Helen Coonan and Melbourne site chief executive Xavier Walsh quitting.

Ms Thorn denied the lack of consequences was embarrassing for the regulator, which is powerless to take action against individuals once they leave an organisation.

Crown has introduced extensive reforms to prevent or reduce gambling harm, financial crime and money laundering but must seek to rebuild and earn public trust, Ms Thorn said.

The regulatory head could not guarantee Crown’s licence would be cancelled if it repeated the same mistakes but pushed back on a suggestion it was “never going to happen” through the royal commission process.

“Crown is not and will never be too big to fail,” she said.

US private equity giant Blackstone acquired Crown for $8.9 billion in June 2022, ending billionaire James Packer’s control of the company.

Ms Thorn said special manager Stephen O’Bryan QC spent two years “living in the pocket” of Crown and compiled nearly 4000 pages of evidence.

“It’s not the same people who were there that allowed the sins of the past to happen,” Ms Thorn said.

The commission chair was adamant the loss of the special monitor from June would not leave a void in oversight, with its audit team to remain fixated on the business.

“If there is any regression to the old Crown – which was one that lied, obfuscated, used legal power to bully the commission – then Crown can be assured that the full extent of the law will be brought against them,” Ms Thorn said.

She was deeply sorry to those whose lives were ruined by the previous Crown administration but it would be “nigh on impossible” for the same breaches to occur again.

Crown employs about 11,500 workers in Melbourne, making it Victoria’s largest single-site private employer.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform said the size of Crown Melbourne – more than double that of any chumba online casino in Las Vegas – remained a concern and called for the government to make the pokies limits in place at Crown mandatory across all pubs and clubs.

“All of Victoria deserves the same protection from gambling harm as patrons at Crown,” its chief executive Carol Bennett said.

Crown Melbourne chief executive Mike Volkert hailed the outcome as one of the most significant milestones in its 30-year history.

“Crown Melbourne is now the safest venue in Victoria for gaming and entertainment,” he said.

online casino and Gaming Minister Melissa Horne said the government would not hesitate to further regulate and legislate if Crown deviated course but wouldn’t be drawn on what it would take for it to lose the licence.

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