- »Crown Perth outlines royal commission plan
Crown Perth outlines royal commission plan
The terms of reference have been released by the Western Australian government for its Crown Resorts royal commission.
Announced the month, the royal commission is in response to New South Wales’ own inquiry, which recommended Crown Resorts be deemed unsuitable to hold a licence for its casino in Sydney due to money laundering and organised crime links.
The report was released on February 9, with the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority concurring with the report’s recommendation.
According to WA’s terms of reference, the royal commission will be required to report and inquire on the suitability of Crown Resorts and its local subsidiaries to continue to hold a licence for Crown Perth and if found unsuitable, what actions would be required to render them suitable.
It will also be required to look at whether or not the current regulatory framework is adequately prepared “to address extant and emerging strategic risks identified in the Bergin Report, or otherwise by this inquiry, including in relation to junket operations, money laundering, cash and electronic transactions and the risk of infiltration by criminal elements into casino operations.”
The regulatory aspect of the inquiry will include identifying and addressing any actual or perceived conflicts of interest by officers involved in WA’s casino regulation, and suggesting how the regulatory framework might be enhanced to address any areas of concern or weakness.
However, it seems unlikely that WA’s royal commission will be as comprehensive as the NSW inquiry was last year, with the terms of reference stating the Commissioner is “not required to inquire or to continue to inquire, into a particular matter to the extent that you are satisfied that the matter has been, is being, or will be sufficiently and appropriately dealt with by another inquiry or investigation.”
In particular, it states that the Commissioner may utilise any evidence already contained within the Bergin Report, including public transcripts of evidence, as part of their own investigative work.
A deadline of 30 June 2021 is provided for submission of an interim report and 14 November 2021 for a final report with recommendations.
High rollers banned from Crown Perth
A ban has been issued on all high roller activity at Crown Perth.
Last Wednesday, Crown Resorts confirmed reports the ban was being considered, stating it had received directions from the regulator providing that Crown Perth cannot participate in the conduct of junkets, premium player activity or privileged player activity.
The conduct specifically includes “table games activity with patrons who are non-residents of Australia with whom Crown Perth has an arrangement to pay the patron a commission, or provide transport, accommodation, food, drink or entertainment, based on the patron’s turnover or otherwise calculated by reference to such play.”
The GWC’s new direction follows a formal call for an independent inquiry into Crown Resorts’ suitability to hold a casino licence for Crown Perth.
If approved, the inquiry would be established under the direction of the Minister for Racing, Gaming and Liquor with a brief to delve into matters uncovered by a similar inquiry conducted in NSW and outlined in a report by Commissioner Patricia Bergin, released in February.
The GWC had already promised to follow a recommendation contained in the report to ban all junket operations in NSW by doing the same in WA.
Crown is also facing a royal commission in Melbourne, home to its flagship casino, with the government announcing it expected the entire process to be complete within this year.
The ban, which seems to apply only to international premium players, is unlikely to have any short-term impact on Crown Perth’s operations given ravel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, although there could be some long-term impacts around potential plans the company may have had to implement a premium direct rather than junket model on high-end play.