Blackstone’s recent offer for Crown Resorts has been rejected by the company’s board, citing it “does not represent compelling value”.

Crown Resorts has paid A$61m following a review of potential casino tax underpayments by Crown Melbourne as referred to in the ongoing Victorian Royal Commission

The group made the payment to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, representing an underpayment of casino tax by Crown Melbourne of approximately A$37m since the 2012 financial year.

This, the operator says, relates to “the incorrect deduction of certain bonus rewards provided to patrons in connection with play on Crown Melbourne’s electronic gaming machines”. 

Under the terms of Crown’s regulatory agreements with the state of Victoria, the firm is required to pay penalty interest on any underpayment of casino tax. 

The penalty interest component up to and including July 27, 2021, is approximately A$24m, which has seen Crown notify the VCGLR of the outcome of this component of its ongoing review, with approximately A$61m subsequently paid to the state.

“Crown is continuing its review of other aspects of casino tax payments and will update the market once the review is complete,” the company noted. 

“Crown’s review includes a review of Matchplay, the loyalty promotion pursuant to which Crown rewards points are redeemed for credits for use in electronic gaming machines. 

“Crown has been advised by the VCGLR that after the Victorian royal commission has delivered its final report, the VCGLR intends to finalise its consideration of Crown’s potential casino tax underpayments in order to form a view as to the quantum of Crown’s outstanding tax liability to the state. Crown will fully cooperate with the VCGLR’s review.” 

The Victoria government last month allocated additional time and funding to the royal commission into the Melbourne operations of Crown Resorts to investigate “a wider range of matters”.

Commissioner Raymond Finkelstein wrote to James Merlino, Victoria’s acting premier, to request an extension from August 1, 2021, to October 15, 2021, as well as an increase in the Commission’s funding from $10m to $19.75m, which was subsequently granted.

Among the wider range of matters to be investigated include those relating to the corporate culture at the Melbourne property, gambling harm minimisation, and claims brought forward in evidence so far, such as allegations that the venue underpaid casino tax.