Crown awaits as Victorian Royal Commission delivers findings

| By Daniel O'Boyle
The state of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Resorts will provide its report to the state government today (15 October), though it will not become public until later this month.
Victorian Government announces Crown extension

The inquiry – the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator Licence – launched soon after the Bergin Report in New South Wales found evidence of widespread failings at Crown and determined it “unsuitable” to operate a casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo region.

The Bergin inquiry found evidence of money laundering and insufficient diligence into junkets with alleged criminal ties. It said that Crown’s “unjustified belief in itself” and “corporate arrogance” led to a lack of thorough investigation of serious claims against its business and an assumption that the claims must have been deceitful.

Following this, Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews announced a royal commission to consider whether Crown Melbourne should be allowed to hold a Victorian licence to operate its flagship casino and entertainment resort. The Commission was led by Raymond Finkelstein QC.

Adrian Finanzio, the counsel assisting the commission into the operator and licence, presented his arguments against Crown’s suitability as a licensee. In July, he said that – based on the evidence submitted to the Commission in Victoria – the operator remains an unsuitable licensee.

The inquiry also heard that Crown had underpaid its tax bill to the tune of AU$37m (£20.0m/€23.7m/US$27.5m) during a period dating back to 2012. As a result, Crown repaid $61m – covering both the bill itself and interest payments – to the state government.

The Victoria government did not reveal the findings contained in the report but said it would take serious action if that proves necessary.

“An incredible amount of work has gone into the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator Licence and we thank Raymond Finkelstein for his report,”  Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne said.

“We’ll consider the findings and recommendations from the Royal Commission in detail and take whatever action is necessary to strengthen casino oversight in Victoria and ensure this never happens again.”

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