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Crown Casino fined $1M for junket breaches

Crown Casino has been fined $1 million for failing to examine foreign high rollers and junket operators, some who turned out to be linked to organised crime gangs.

The fine is the maximum penalty available and came after the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) found that Crown had failed to keep proper records relating to junkets.

The VCGLR found that Crown was in breach of its regulatory obligations to implement a “robust process” to vet junket operators.

"The commission concluded that in respect of the analysed individuals, the processes implemented by Crown were not robust," the commission said.

Crown failed to collect relevant information with respect to junket operators that would have enabled it to come to an "informed decision" about those operators.

Crown also failed to maintain any records relating to the 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," said the commission.

The Casino has been issued with a letter of censure from the commission. This prohibits Crown from starting up any future junket operations.

According to VCGLR chairman, Ross Kennedy the penalty reflects the seriousness of the breach.

"Robust processes must be implemented to ensure that Crown's Melbourne casino remains free from criminal influence and exploitation," he said.

Crown chair Helen Coonan stated, "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 currently under Royal Commission scrutiny, with a report due to be handed to the Victorian government by 1 August.

It follows the Royal Commission held into Crown Resorts Sydney operations, which found Crown was unsuitable to hold a casino licence.

The million dollar fine has been laughed down by several politicians, with Independent MP Andrew Wilkie saying, "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."



28th April 2021