Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd has been found unsuitable to operate a casino at its resort (pictured) in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, according to a report based on an eight-month royal commission inquiry. The gaming company will however retain its licence and be subject to stricter oversight.
A report on Crown Resorts’ fitness was released on Tuesday after being formally tabled in the Victorian parliament.
“The Royal Commission finds Crown is unsuitable to hold a casino licence on the basis that it has engaged in conduct that is ‘illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative’,” stated the report. “The Royal Commission notes that the scale of the wrongdoing is so widespread and egregious that ‘[n]o other finding was open’,” it added.
The document also pointed out “grave, ongoing legal breaches and misconduct that contravened not only Australian laws but the laws of other countries often with the knowledge of Crown executives.”
But the report has recommended Crown Resorts be given two years to reform itself under the supervision of a state government-appointed “special manager”, who will oversee all aspects of its business.
It said: “Weighing up the importance of maintaining the integrity of the licensing system, the Royal Commission concludes that immediate cancellation of the licence is not in the interests of the Victorian community.”
In a statement, the Victorian government said it was introducing “tough new measures and stringent oversight of the casino operator to ensure the failures exposed by the Royal Commission never happen again.”
“The Casino and Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 being introduced … commences the critical reforms required to ensure the casino is operated in accordance with the highest standards of integrity,” it added.
The bill will prohibit a gaming firm from dealing with junket operators and imposes additional regulatory obligations on the casino. It also introduces the government-appointed “special manager”, who will have veto decisions of the Crown board, “and have unfettered access to all areas of the casino and its books and records.”
Subject to the passage of the bill, the Victorian government has proposed the appointment of Stephen O’Bryan, the state’s first holder of a post called the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commissioner, as the special manager overseeing the casino operator.
The proposed amendment also says that Crown Resorts’ licence “will be automatically cancelled” at the end of the period of special manager oversight, “unless the regulator is clearly satisfied that Crown is suitable to continue operating the Melbourne casino.”
In February, Crown Resorts was found unsuitable to be permitted to open a casino at Crown Sydney, in Sydney, New South Wales, and a decision on its gaming licence there is still pending. A public inquiry by the New South Wales regulator heard allegations that Crown Resorts had displayed at its Crown Melbourne venue inadequate oversight of its junket partners for VIP gambling, and had exposed itself to money laundering at that property.
Nov 29, 2022Former Macau junket operator Suncity Group had no commercial need to seek illicit gains from under-the-table betting via the “multiplier”, as the company had a huge gaming business...
Nov 29, 2022
"The resurgence of Covid cases in China is again delaying a market recovery [in Macau] and is a credit negative"
Vice president and senior credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service