Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino has received a record A $ 1 million fine from the Victorian Gaming and Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Commission (VCGLR) for failing to adequately vet operators of junket (of travel).
Junket operators are best described as a combination of a travel agency, a VIP hospitality service, and a banking company. The main goal of these companies is to reach out to Asian high rollers and offer them personalized offers to attract them to gambling at a particular casino.
Victoria’s gambling regulator launched an investigation at Crown’s Melbourne casino after 2019 media reported that the special junket operators the company worked with had ties to Asian organized crime.
The damning accusations also sparked the 18-month Bergin investigation in New South Wales, which in February left the Australian casino giant unable to operate a casino at their newly developed luxury resort in Sydney.
Royal commissions have also been launched on Crown licenses in Victoria and Western Australia. In addition, Australia’s federal financial crime watchdog, AUSTRAC, is investigating casino tours.
Crown’s board is currently evaluating an A $ 8 billion takeover bid US private equity giant Blackstone Group and is working closely with New South Wales gambling regulators as it “seeks to regain regulatory confidence in its operations,” as the company’s chief executive recently noted Helen Coonan.
In its own investigation, the VCGLR established that Crown did not collect the information necessary to make a “Informed decision” about your junket partners and the people involved in these companies. In addition, it was discovered that the casino operator had not checked or verified the information with the junket partners it worked with.
The company’s other infractions included the failure of proper record keeping in relation to junket operators. According to the VCGLR, this particular flaw meant that it was unclear how Crown made certain decisions regarding its junket partners and whether those decisions were made “with due regard to Crown’s regulatory obligations.”
The A $ 1 million fine is the maximum the regulatory agency can issue under the state’s Casino Control Act. The VCGLR said the sanction reflected the seriousness of Crown’s violations and the fact that they occurred over a prolonged period.
The company has also been forbidden to work with junket operators until its processes and procedures have been improved in a way that satisfies the local regulator.
Crown’s chief executive said they have already stopped working with junket partners as part of a broader “reform agenda” and that the changes he plans to implement will be aimed at “Deliver the highest standards of governance and compliance” and to improve the company’s reputation and regain public and regulatory confidence in its operations in the state.
Fountain: Crown Casino fined record $ 1 MILLION by gambling regulator, 7News, April 27, 2021