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Crown Resorts to reopen Melbourne casino as Victoria eases Covid-19 restrictions

| By Robert Fletcher
Australian operator Crown Resorts has reopened its casino in Melbourne after the Victorian government lifted novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown restrictions in the state.

Crown Melbourne was forced to halt all gaming activities on 16 July when the state’s government announced a short lockdown in response to an increase in Covid-19 cases in Victoria.

However, following the decision by the government to allow the state to exit lockdown, both gaming and non-gaming operations at Crown Melbourne can resume from today (28 July).

Some restrictions will remain in place for gaming operations at the casino, including limiting the maximum capacity in each indoor space to 100 patrons or one person per four square metres.

Physical distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols will also continue at the casino.

Yesterday (27 July), Crown Resorts revealed it had paid AUD$61.0m (£32.3m/€37.9m) to the state of Victoria in response to an investigation into an underpayment of casino tax dating back to 2012.

The Victorian Royal Commission ruled Crown should make two payments to cover the underpayment of tax and related interest charges.

The Commission said a payment of $37m should be made to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), representing an underpayment of casino tax by Crown Melbourne in the period from the 2012 financial year to the date of the ruling.

This tax was in relation to Crown’s incorrect deduction of certain bonus rewards provided to players in connection with play on Crown Melbourne’s electronic gaming machines.

The Commission also said a further payment of $24m must be made to the state of Victoria as penalty interest on the underpayment of casino tax during the period in question.

Crown notified the VCGLR that it has now paid the state approximately $61m, covering both the charges cited by the Victorian Royal Commission.

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