Australia: VCGLR cleared of corruption and wrongdoing

The VCGLR had been accused of favouring Crown Resorts.
The VCGLR had been accused of favouring Crown Resorts.

An enquiry chaired by Ian Freckelton has found that the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) did not fail in its regulation of Victoria’s gambling industry.

Australia.- A report made by QC Ian Freckelton has concluded that there is no evidence of corruption and wrongdoing at the VCGLR. The Royal Commission into Crown Resorts had looked into whether the regulator had failed in its role regulating Crown Melbourne.

Freckelton said: “We have not found any wrongdoing, corruption, unlawfulness, a breach of any laws/regulations or motivations based on improper purposes at the VCGLR based on any part of our investigation.”

He suggested in his report that the regulator should ban junkets and roster more inspectors to examine gambling venues.

On the first day of the Royal Commission’s public hearings, Timothy Bryant, a compliance officer at the VCGLR said Crown Resorts had lied to him about the arrest of 19 Crown executives in China in 2016.

According to Bryant, Crown Resorts failed to give correct information to the VCGLR and delayed providing documents and reports.

Australian gambling sector donated US$59m to political parties

An investigation by the Australian newspaper ABC News revealed that gambling-related businesses and lobby groups have donated AU$80m (US$59m) to political parties in the last 22 years. The amount is at least double that identified in previous analyses of federal political donations.

According to ABC’s investigation, more than 150 ministers, candidates and other politicians received political donations. Gambling companies injected AU$14.46m into the political coffers, with Tabcorp (AU$3.95m), Crown (AU$3.25m) and The Star Entertainment Group (AU$1.77m) the largest donors. 

The Australian Labor Party received the most donations, with more than AU$39mfollowed by the Liberal Party and the National Party with AU$22m. Some AU$16m was received by related entities, unions and campaign groups.

Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute, said: “The gambling industry really punches above its weight when it comes to political donations. The gambling sector gives more dollars relative to economic contribution than any other sector in the economy.”

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