Crown Resorts found unsuitable to operate Crown Melbourne

The Victoria Royal Commission released its report today.
The Victoria Royal Commission released its report today.

The casino operator will keep its licence but under strict new conditions with the appointment of a Special Manager with unprecedented powers.

Australia.- Victoria’s Royal Commission has officially declared Crown Resorts unsuitable to hold a licence for its Crown Melbourne casino. However, the operator will be allowed to keep its licence under stricter conditions.

Judge Raymond Finkelstein, who led the state of Victoria’s inquiry shared his findings with the government on Friday, noting multiple failings in the manner in which Crown managed anti-money laundering rules. According to the report, Crown’s board failed to carry out its responsibilities to ensure that the operator satisfied its legal and regulatory obligations.

However, he has decided the casino operator can keep its licence through the appointment of a Special Manager to oversee the casino for the next two years. Stephen O’Bryan QC, as Victoria’s first Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commissioner, will be appointed to the position.

The Special Manager will have unprecedented powers to oversee Crown Resorts, veto decisions of the Board, and will have access to all areas of the casino and its books and records. 

Finkelstein said he had taken the decision because he understood that if Crown Melbourne’s licence was cancelled, it would hurt the Victorian economy. The proposal has been approved by the Victorian government, which said Crown’s licence will be cancelled unless Crown Resorts can convince the regulator it has changed. 

A total of 33 recommendations were made by the Royal Commission, which recognised that Crown Resorts has started a significant reform programme. The report suggested increasing the maximum possible penalty under the Casino Control Act 1991 from AU$1m to AU$100m to “make sure there are meaningful consequences for breaches of the law.”

Crown Resorts issued a statement where it says it is currently reviewing the report and the Victorian Government’s response.

The company said: “Crown Resorts will work cooperatively and constructively with the Victorian Government in relation to the findings and recommendations of the Report and their response.”

Crown Perth failed to conduct an investigation after a gambler was arrested, inquiry hears

Western Australia’s Royal Commission has heard that Crown Perth didn’t conduct any official inquiry regarding the case of Daniel Petkov. The former Belmont bank manager was jailed for gambling with stolen funds.

Petkov spent AU$2.5m in six months on Crown’s electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and offered membership for the high-roller Pearl Room, which would allow him to gamble bigger sums. He was later jailed for five-and-a-half years for gambling with stolen funds.

Lonnie Bossi, the CEO of Crown Perth, told the inquiry he heard from a worker that Petkov came from a well off family and had properties, with a Facebook search showing photographs of him. 

He admitted there was no exhaustive examination of the source of his money or whether the operator should offer services for potential gambling-harm.

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