Crown Melbourne is one of two casinos Crown operates in Australia. Image – Unsplash
  • Victorian Government has announced a Royal Commission into the casino operator’s Victorian licence
  • Response to NSW ILGA report and Crown Perth inquiry
  • Recommendations will be handed down on 1 August 2021

The Victorian Government today announced a Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne will be held to assess the casino operators suitability in holding its Victorian casino licence.

The inquiry will also assess the suitability of its associates – including Crown Resorts Limited.

“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,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

The announcement comes after the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority of New South Wales deemed Crown Resorts as ‘not suitable’ to hold a casino licence, with the regulator officially informing Crown last week. This is despite the $2.2 billion Crown Barangaroo tower in Sydney already operating as a resort with the casino area fitted out.

Following the damaging Bergin Inquiry – which was 750 pages long – pressure immediately mounted on both the Victorian and Western Australian Governments, both of whom have licences with Crown.

Last week, the Western Australian Government announced the Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA will hold an independent inquiry with the same powers of a royal commission.

Raymond Finkelstein, who has been a Queen’s Counsel since 1986 – will serve as Commissioner and Chairperson of the Royal Commission.

He will hand recommendations by 1 August 2021.

The Victorian Government has also said they will legislate to enable the Victorian Gaming and Liquor Regulation COmmsision (VCGLR) to give effects to any findings to be featured as a result of the Royal Commission.

Additionally, an independent review will occur parallel with the Royal Commission which will assess requirements for money laundering and junket operation regulations.

Melissa Horne, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, has commissioned a review that will provide advice regarding the necessary structural and governance arrangement required.

“The reports from New South Wales’ ILGA Inquiry were incredibly concerning, which is why we’re establishing a Royal Commission to get the answers we need about Crown Melbourne.”

“The Royal Commission will establish the facts and the Government and the VCGLR will take any necessary action at the conclusion of the investigation. We will not tolerate illegal behaviour in our gaming industry.”

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