Crown Melbourne will undergo a second round of disciplinary proceedings in relation to its alleged responsible gambling failures.
Conducted by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, and less than two months after it was fined AU$80m for illegal use of China UnionPay cards, Victoria’s new gambling regulator has requested information from Crown on its Responsible Service of Gambling obligations.
Fran Thorn, Chair at VGCCC, stated: “Crown’s responsible gambling obligations are a condition of the casino licence, designed to protect vulnerable patrons and to prevent gambling related harm to patrons, their families and the community. There is no more important obligation.
“We heard many distressing stories at the Royal Commission of vulnerable patrons being encouraged to gamble beyond their means. The VGCCC will therefore be unflinching in its resolve to deal with the issues uncovered at the Royal Commission regarding Crown’s approach to responsible gambling, and to ensure the casino operator acts in line with its legal obligations and the community’s expectations.”
The disciplinary proceedings are also said, according to the VGCCC, to be a result of findings by the Royal Commission, which included “not adequately supervising or interacting with hundreds or possibly thousands of customers who exhibited signs of problem or risky gambling.”
This allegedly included a case of a female player who was allowed to gamble at the Crown Melbourne property for 96 hours straight.
The VGCCC said it will consider the information provided by the Crown before determining the appropriate disciplinary action to take.
As alluded to above, the second round of disciplinary proceedings follow on from its first phase conducted earlier this year due to illegal transfer of funds from China.
Said to have found that the group had devised the plot in a bid to evade Chinese currency restrictions, the royal commission report described the process as “the use of the Chinese-based bank card, China Union Pay, to allow international patrons to access funds in order to gamble at Crown Melbourne,” which occurred between 2012 and 2016.
Moreover, the investigation comes a mere few weeks after Blackstone had finalised its “largest transaction to date for the firm in Asia Pacific” after completing the long protracted A$8.9bn (US$6.3bn) Crown Resorts takeover.
The transaction includes the acquisition of three resorts and casino properties, including Melbourne, as well as Perth and Sydney.