It’s the first time the VGCCC has used its toughened enforcement powers under legislative amendments to the Casino Control Act.
Australia.- The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has announced disciplinary action against Crown Melbourne for its China Union Pay process to avoid Chinese currency restrictions. It’s imposed a fine of AU$80m (US$57.4m).
Between 2012 and 2016, Crown Melbourne allowed its customers to use a credit or debit card to access funds to play games at Melbourne casinos. It earned an estimated AU$32m in revenue from AU$164m in transactions.
Crown Melbourne has conceded that the CUP process was unlawful and “totally unacceptable” and acknowledged that the VGCCC was justified in imposing a fine. In taking disciplinary action, the VGCCC considered Crown’s cooperation and remorse.
It’s the first time the VGCCC has used its stronger enforcement powers under the Casino Control Act Amendment, which now allows it to impose fines up to a maximum of AU$100m. The VGCCC is considering further disciplinary proceedings against Crown over other inquiry findings, with penalties of up to AU$100m for each.
Fran Thorn, VGCCC chair, said: “Crown’s CUP process was a clandestine, deliberate process, which not only breached the Casino Control Act but was also devised to assist patrons to breach China’s foreign currency exchange restrictions.
“Crown was aware of the risk that the CUP process could be illegal but decided to run that risk. In doing so, it showed no regard for upholding its regulatory obligations. Indeed, it went to some lengths to hide what it was doing.
“Crown benefited handsomely from its illegal conduct. The fine will ensure that Crown is stripped of the revenue it derived from the CUP process and will send a clear message that it must comply with its regulatory obligations.”
Judge Raymond Finkelstein, who led the state of Victoria’s inquiry declared Crown Resorts unsuitable to hold a licence for its Crown Melbourne casino. However, the operator was allowed to keep its licence under stricter conditions.
VGCCC announces new rules for EGMs at Crown Melbourne
As previously reported by Focus Gaming News, the VGCCC has announced changes to the rules for electronic gaming machines (EGMs) at Crown Melbourne. EGM players at the casino will no longer be able to play more than one machine at a time.
EGM players will also no longer be allowed to use any item to hold down the buttons on unrestricted machines to facilitate continuous play. Continuous play on restricted machines is already prohibited.
According to the regulator, the rules for EGMs at the casino will better align with the responsible gambling objectives in the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (GR Act) and the Casino Control Act 1991 (CC Act).