VGCCC Deems Crown Resorts Suitable to Continue to Hold its Melbourne Casino License

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), Victoria’s gambling regulatory body, has regarded Crown Resort Ltd., Australia’s largest gaming and entertainment group, eligible to maintain its gaming license, meaning it will be permitted to proceed to manage its casino in Melbourne.

Reason for review of Crown’s suitability to hold a gaming license in Victoria:

Crown’s eligibility for a license was reviewed after revelations by a Victorian royal commission in 2021, which discovered the firm had smoothed the path for money laundering and allowed individuals linked to organized crime syndicates to gamble on its property. Additionally, the firm was “unsuitable” to hold its existing gambling license following its engagement in “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative” behavior, according to royal commission’s findings.

Although Fran Thorn, Commissioner of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, commented that the firm had formerly violated supervisory rules, failed to adequately manage risk and showed that a revenue culture was more important than safety, she also commented that the state regulator would allow Crown to continue operating again.

Speaking on the matter, Ms Thorn said to the reporters in Melbourne on March 26: “In return for an exclusive licence, Victorians have the right to know Crown will never again prioritize profits over public safety. For the past two years, Crown has probably been the most scrutinized casino in the world.”

Warning for future breaches:

However, Ms Thorn issued an official warning that the watchdog would act instantly if Crown violates any gambling laws again.

Commenting on this, she commented according to news.com.au: “The significant turnaround by Crown Melbourne does not mean that Crown Melbourne will never slip up again. And when this happens, we will act and we expect Crown Melbourne to act. Crown Melbourne must continue to seek to rebuild and earn public trust by demonstrating the good character, honesty and integrity that are necessary to remain a suitable casino operator. We put Crown on notice that this commission will not hesitate to act if the privilege of holding the casino licence is again abused. We are determined Crown is not and will never be too big to fail.”

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After the Victorian investigation, Ray Finkelstein, the royal commissioner, suggested that the Crown have a deadline of 2 years to improve itself under a special manager to be appointed by the government. In addition, he also gave an order to James Packer, a previous important shareholder, to officially sell his 37% shares in the firm to below 5% by September this year.

Furthermore, an independent royal commission into the operation of Crown’s Perth casino discovered the casino unsuitable for owning a gaming license in Western Australia. Additionally, the NSW investi lodi646 gation discovered that Crown had smoothed the path for money laundering via its casino in Sydney.

Crown Resorts investigation discovers its CEO Ciaran Carruthers didn’t break any regulation or law:

Following an investigation by Crown Resorts into allegations that its chief executive, Ciaran Carruthers, permitted patrons to re-enter its Melbourne casino after being removed by the security, the said firm can say that the aforementioned chief executive didn’t break any regulation or law, as reported by the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

Reportedly, commenting on the investigation, in a memo to his employees, Bill McBeath, president of Crown Resorts, commented that the said investigation discovered that “no regulations or laws were breached,” as mentioned above. However, he also said the Board had also started  a wider consideration of the firm’s security procedures and policies “to ensure clearer lines of authority and accountability over operational decision-making in our properties.”