Home NewsCasino Victoria regulator says Crown Casino Melbourne can keep its licence

Victoria regulator says Crown Casino Melbourne can keep its licence

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Victoria Gambling and Casino Control Commission has determined that Crown Resorts can continue to operate its Melbourne hotel and hold a license.

VGCCC stated that it is “public interest” for Crown to retain the license. Crown Melbourne, the state’s largest employer at a single site, is located in Melbourne.

This decision was made after the Royal Commission on Casino Licences, which led to a number of changes in the casino. The Commission criticised what they deemed to be “illegal and unethical” behavior.

The report of the investigation, published in October 2021, deemed that the casino was “unsuitable”. It would not be granted a licence to operate a casino in Victoria. Crown’s licence should not be immediately revoked due to potential economic impacts, the report added.

Instead, the Commission made a number of recommendations for improving practices. Crown changed its operations in a big way over the next two years to conform to such measures. They included safer gambling obligations to prevent harm from gambling, such as an obligatory cooling-off time.

The Melbourne Remediation Action Plan included 342 initiatives in eight workstreams. The areas of focus were financial crime, risk and compliance, governance, Crown PlaySafe harm minimisation and culture.

Victoria appointed a manager special to supervise the operations at the casino and oversee remediation. VGCCC, the sole gambling regulator in the state was established with enhanced powers for the casino.

The Commission then had to decide whether Crown was qualified to be granted the license. Having taken into account Crown’s effort, with the operator saying it spent over AU$200.0m (PS103.4m/EUR120.6m/US$130.9m) on its transformation, the operator held on to its licence.

Crown Addresses “Systematic Failures”

Fran Thorn, chair of the Commission’s case review panel, said that the final report by the special manager concluded Crown Melbourne had remedied the failures revealed in the Commission. The report also laid the “critical foundations” for a sustainable transformation.

Thorne stated that “there was no evidence” of any maladministration or other illegal or inappropriate conduct, which would indicate the systemic and serious failures identified previously by the Commission. These failings have been corrected.

Crown Melbourne has a responsibility to the Victorians in return for its exclusive license. They have the right to expect the company will not place profit before the safety of patrons, staff and the compliance of their legal and social obligations.

Thorn said that Crown would continue to come under close scrutiny by the State. The company must continue to transform through a new statutory directive, and details will be released shortly.

Thorn stated that the transformation plan would be the focus of Crown Melbourne’s oversight along with its legal and social obligations. It will also set the standard for the future.

Crown Melbourne has to continue its efforts to earn the public’s trust, by showing that it is a casino operator with integrity and honesty. Crown has been warned that we won’t hesitate to take action if they abuse the license.

Crown Melbourne celebrates “significant milestone”

Crown will be relieved by the decision. Crown has been subjected to heavy penalties by the State in response to the Commission.

Crown Resorts was fined $120 million by the VGCCC in November 2022 for failings over a number of years. Crown Resorts failed to meet its responsibility obligations for gambling over several years, according to the VGCCC. It found that customers gambled continuously for extended periods, often for over 24 hours.

Mike Volkert, the property CEO at Crown Melbourne, said that Crown Melbourne has achieved many milestones over its 30-year-history.

Volkert stated that “what we have accomplished must remain a constant focus for all at Crown Melbourne.” We know that the hard work is not over. Our commitment to the industry’s highest standards, as well as putting our guests welfare at the forefront in every decision we make, will continue.

Crown Melbourne has been rated the most secure gaming and entertainment venue in Victoria. “We look forward to welcoming our guests for many years to come.”

Blackstone Impact

Ciaran Carruthers, CEO of Crown Resorts, also welcomed this decision. The CEO said that the June 2022 acquisition of Crown Resorts by Blackstone, a private equity company, played an important role in the transformation.

Carruthers stated that “since the Blackstone acquisition, Crown’s transformation has been one of the most complicated ever in Australia.”

According to Carruthers, the steps taken “rebuilt our organization fundamentally from within”

We take our casino license very seriously. Crown Melbourne is now operating in a safe and secure environment. I’m proud of our team for what they have accomplished.

Together, we’ve built a better Crown. We will continue to focus on the delivery of high standards in integrity, harm minimisation, and service excellence throughout our industry.

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