- »Victoria Sets up Royal Commission into Crown Resorts
Victoria Sets up Royal Commission into Crown Resorts
Crown Resorts is set to be at the centre of another state government inquiry, this time, a royal commission in Victoria.
The Age reports the Victorian government will launch a royal commission into Crown Resorts to gauge its suitability to hold a casino licence in Melbourne.
The commission will be headed up by former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, QC.
The state government said in a statement that the move responded to the “serious findings” of the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry, which ruled Crown unfit to hold a casino licence at its newly built Barangaroo complex.
“Since receiving the ILGA report, the government has taken advice about the most appropriate way to proceed in Victoria,” the statement said.
“Establishing a royal commission will ensure the most appropriate access to information regarding Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold the casino licence given the Commission’s powers to compel witnesses and documentation.”
The government had already established a review into Crown’s suitability to hold its licence.
That review will occur in parallel with the royal commission.
“This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity and that they’re accountable for their actions,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne said the reports from the NSW inquiry were “incredibly concerning”.
“The Royal Commission will establish the facts and the government and the state regulator will take any necessary action at the conclusion of the investigation.
“We will not tolerate illegal behaviour in our gaming industry.”
The 18-month NSW inquiry, conducted by former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, examined evidence of Crown facilitating money laundering through its bank accounts, went into business with junket tour partners linked to Triad organised crime gangs and disregarded the welfare of its staff in China before 19 were arrested there in 2016.
Commissioner Bergin’s final report in February found these failures made Crown unfit to hold a casino licence in NSW, with its core problem being “poor corporate governance, deficient risk management structures and processes and a poor corporate culture.”
WA gaming commission recommends inquiry into Crown Perth operations
An investigation into Crown Resorts’ Sydney operations has prompted the West Australian gaming regulator to recommend its government does the same.
The ABC reported in mid-February that the state’s regulator has recommended the government establish an independent inquiry into Crown’s Perth casino licence.
The recommendation was made after an urgent meeting of the Gaming and Wagering Commission that was also attended by WA Police Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch.
It already has the backing of the Gaming Minister.
It comes after last week’s scathing report into the gambling giant, which detailed years of money laundering through Crown Perth and led to the state’s chief casino officer being stood aside over social relationships with staff from Crown Perth’s legal and compliance team.
The meeting on Tuesday evening considered advice from the State Solicitor’s Office as to the findings of the Bergin inquiry in New South Wales.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the GWC said it would seek to launch an independent investigation because it was not able to make findings in relation to Crown Perth on the basis of the NSW investigation.
“The GWC acknowledges the seriousness of the findings and has been working cooperatively with the Bergin Inquiry since it came to light,” it said.
The Commission said it also considered responses to the inquiry by Crown Resorts at the meeting.