Victoria Launches Illegal Credit Probe Into Crown Melbourne

September 1, 2022
Back
Victoria state’s gambling regulator has announced another probe into Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino, warning of a fine of up to A$100m ($68m) and licence restrictions over illegal use of bank and blank cheques.

Victoria state’s gambling regulator has announced another probe into Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino, warning of a fine of up to A$100m ($68m) and licence restrictions over illegal use of bank and blank cheques.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) said in a statement today (September 1) that it has ordered Crown Melbourne to provide “information relevant to the … consideration of any disciplinary action it may take on these practices”.

The probe, the third to be undertaken by the newly formed VGCCC, will follow up on Crown’s breaches of credit extension bans in the Casino Control Act 1991 that were exposed in the 2021 state Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne.

The breaches included exchanging bank cheques for gambling chips and accepting blank cheques for consolidated gambling debt at the casino. Allegations that were folded into a “miscellaneous breaches” section of the Royal Commission report.

In both cases, and despite Crown insisting on no wrongdoing, the Royal Commission found that the operator had breached the law.

“The Casino Control Act establishes restrictions on Crown’s financial interactions with its patrons,” VGCCC chair Fran Thorn said in the statement.

“These restrictions are vital because they protect patrons from gambling beyond their means and guard the Melbourne Casino against criminal influence and exploitation.”

The VGCCC previously fined Crown A$80m in late May over illegal transfer of Chinese customer funds using the China UnionPay bank card.

The regulator’s decision on Crown’s breaches of responsible gambling obligations that were outlined in the Royal Commission is pending.

The latest probe adds to the burden on the Blackstone Group, whose takeover of Crown this year has been marked by ongoing regulatory fallout in Melbourne, but also a green light to start gaming operations at Crown Sydney.

Each of the punishments, and the process of furnishing relevant documentation to regulatory officials, are noteworthy given the presence of an unprecedented, state-appointed special manager of the company for the duration of Crown’s two-year probationary period.

Such an appointment theoretically ensures that the regulator will gain access to all relevant documents in these probes and that any omission or shortfall would in part be the responsibility of the government appointee.

         

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

To find out more about Vixio, contact us today
No items found.