Crown Melbourne’s Licence Retained Following Approval

By Saloni Sehmi
Crown Melbourne's Licence Retained Following Approval

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has decided that Crown Resorts, the Australian casino giant, can keep its Crown Melbourne casino licence. The Commission has determined that Crown Melbourne has taken the necessary steps to address the issues identified by the 2021 Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence, thereby making it suitable to retain the licence.

In the Royal Commission’s report, it was revealed that Crown Melbourne had violated its legal, social, and moral obligations, leading to illegal activities, tax evasion, money laundering, association with criminal groups, and harm to vulnerable members of the community. Despite the severity of these findings, the Finkelstein Royal Commission recommended that Crown be allowed to continue operating under strict independent oversight conditions for two years, believing that the company had the capacity and intention to transform itself for the better, which would benefit Victoria.

The Victorian Government responded promptly to the Royal Commission’s findings by appointing a Special Manager to oversee Crown Melbourne’s operations and remedial measures. Additionally, a new regulator, the VGCCC, was established to focus solely on the gambling industry, with enhanced powers concerning the Melbourne casino. The VGCCC was tasked with determining whether Crown Melbourne had become suitable to hold the licence and whether it was still in the public’s interest. To make this determination, the Commission thoroughly reviewed the reports of the Royal Commission, the Special Manager, and other relevant inquiries, assessing the steps taken by Crown Melbourne to address the identified issues and prevent their recurrence.

Based on the findings of the Special Manager’s final report, the Commission concluded that Crown Melbourne had successfully rectified the failings highlighted by the Royal Commission and laid the groundwork for sustainable transformation in the future. There was no evidence of misconduct, illegal activities, or improper conduct indicative of the serious and systematic failures identified by the Royal Commission. Commissioner Thorn stated that Crown Melbourne had implemented extensive reforms to mitigate gambling harm, financial crime, and money laundering, as well as strengthening its risk management and integrity framework.

The Commission’s decision was bolstered by Crown Melbourne’s comprehensive transformation plan, which was required by the Special Manager. This plan will serve as a benchmark for the company’s ongoing accountability. Going forward, Crown Melbourne will be closely monitored by the VGCCC’s strengthened oversight regime and enforcement powers. The establishment of a specialized Casino Division within the VGCCC ensures that Crown Melbourne will be held strictly accountable for its ongoing transformation.

Commissioner Thorn emphasized that, as the holder of an exclusive licence, Crown Melbourne has a responsibility to prioritize the safety and well-being of its patrons and staff, as well as compliance with legal and social obligations. The Commission made it clear that any abuse or neglect of this responsibility will not be tolerated, and swift action will be taken to protect the public’s interests.

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