#AceFinanceReport – Apr.27: Crown had failed to gather the necessary information to make an “informed decision” about the people behind the junkets and did not check or verify the relevant information directly with those involved:
Crown Casino in Melbourne fined $1 million over junket operations: The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) said Crown had failed to comply with its regulatory obligations: Junket operators bring high rollers from mainland Asia to Australia to gamble, and some have been linked to organised crime.
ABC News: Posted 3h ago, updated 1h ago
Crown was required to implement a “robust process” to consider the ongoing probity of the operators.
“The commission concluded that in respect of the analysed individuals, the processes implemented by Crown were not robust,” the commission said.
The commission also said Crown had failed to maintain the necessary records relating to junkets.
“This failure meant it was unclear how certain decisions were reached by Crown and whether such decisions were made with due regard to Crown’s regulatory obligations,” the commission said.
Crown barred from starting up junket operations again
The million-dollar fine is the maximum available under the Casino Control Act.
The commission has also issued a letter of censure to Crown which prohibits the casino from recommencing junket operations.
Ross Kennedy, the chairman of the VCGLR, said the penalty reflected the seriousness of the matter.
“And the fact that Crown’s failure to implement a robust process occurred over an extended period,” he said.
“Robust processes must be implemented to ensure that Crown’s Melbourne casino remains free from criminal influence and exploitation.”
Crown chair Helen Coonan said the company continued to “engage” with the VCGLR and the Victorian government.
“As part of this reform agenda, Crown has already ceased dealing with all junket operators,” she said.
Crown’s suitability to run the Melbourne casino is being tested at a royal commission which is due to report back to the Victorian government by August 1 this year.
It followed a damning NSW inquiry which found the gambling giant was not suitable to hold a casino licence.
That inquiry, led by commissioner Patricia Bergin, said the company needed to make sweeping cultural changes if it wanted to operate the new casino at Barangaroo.
Tim Costello, the chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said that inquiry also found casinos were used to launder the profits of crime.
“It’s the drugs sold to our kids. It’s the trafficking of women. It’s the corrupting of law and order,” he said.
“All of us get hurt because of this crime. We should be very worried.”
Fine is ‘loose change’ for Crown
Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said the fine was too little, too late after years of inaction by both the state and federal regulators.
“It shouldn’t take years of damning allegations and the announcement of a royal commission to finally spur our regulator to act,” she said.
“While the fine itself will likely be nothing more than loose change to Crown, we hope this provides the government with yet another sign that it’s time to break up the gambling giant for good.”
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie called the million-dollar fine “laughable”.
“The VCGLR really should be handing out fines in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars because that’s the only way to rein in a company like Crown,” he said.
“It’s wilful ignorance that they didn’t do the checks, and didn’t want to do the checks.”
#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Apr.27: 2021:
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