Victoria regulator imposes record A$120m fines on Crown Melbourne

Crown Resorts Melbourne, Victoria
Image: TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock

Crown ResortsMelbourne-based gaming venue has received a mammoth A$120m in fines from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

This becomes the second such action brought against the company by the regulator following the state’s royal commission into the group, with the financial penalty taking the company’s Victorian total to $200m. In May of this year the VGCCC fined Crown $80m over its China Union Pay process.

Coming in the form of two fines for a failure to address responsible service of gambling obligations, the company had accepted the disciplinary action as well as the need to continue working on reforms to address these and other protocols.

In elaborating on the failing, the VGCCC shared that “Crown Melbourne consistently and for many years failed to intervene, when it should have, with those of its customers who were demonstrating the indicator of gambling harm constituted by often gambling for long periods without a break”.

“At the Royal Commission, Crown accepted the responsible service of gambling as both a legal obligation and a condition of its social licence to operate,” explained Fran Thorn, Chair of the VGCCC. 

“For a long time, Crown failed in its legal and moral obligation to ensure it provided its gambling products and services in a manner which minimised potential harm to its patrons, their families, friends and communities.

“The record fines totalling A$120m that we have imposed on Crown today will send a powerful message to Crown that the Commission will not tolerate misconduct that exposes our community to increased risks of gambling related harm. 

“These were not isolated breaches. They were part of a pattern of extensive, sustained and systemic failures by Crown that spanned roughly 12 years.

“We urge all gambling licence holders to read this decision. This disciplinary action also sounds a warning to all in the Victorian gambling industry that we expect them to do everything they can to minimise the harmful impacts of gambling.

“The Commission will be resolute in pursuing our new requirement to regulate for harm minimisation, and the industry can expect further action from the Commission on this matter.”

The aforementioned investigation into the casino operator discovered that Crown breached its responsible gaming code of conduct over many years by consistently failing to intervene to prevent gambling harm that allowed customers to often gamble for long periods without a break, sometimes for more than 24 hours.

Furthermore, among the numerous findings, it was also said that the firm failed to comply with a statutory direction by the regulator to take all reasonable steps to prevent patrons from using plastic picks, and other devices, to simulate ‘automatic play’ when gambling on certain electronic gaming machines.