Victorian Gambling Regulator to Allow Crown Resorts to Retain Its Gaming License

March 27, 2024 | Casinos

MELBOURNE, Vic. (March 26,2024) — The decision by the Victorian gambling regulator to allow Crown Resorts to retain its gaming license for its Melbourne casino despite the findings of the 2021 Victorian royal commission highlights a complex situation at the intersection of regulatory oversight and the interests of stakeholders.

The royal commission’s investigation revealed serious concerns about Crown Resorts’ conduct, including allegations of facilitating money laundering and allowing individuals associated with organized crime to gamble at its establishments. The commission concluded that Crown’s behavior was “illegal, dishonest, unethical, and exploitative,” leading to the determination that the company was unsuitable to hold its gaming license.

However, despite these damning findings, Victoria’s Gambling and Casino Control Commissioner, Fran Thorn, announced that Crown Resorts would be permitted to continue operating its Melbourne casino. Thorn acknowledged Crown’s past breaches of governance rules, lack of appropriate risk management, and a culture that prioritized profits over safety. Nevertheless, she expressed satisfaction with the steps taken by Crown to address these issues and deemed the company suitable to operate the casino.

Thorn emphasized the importance of Crown continuing to demonstrate good character, honesty, and integrity to rebuild public trust. She warned that the regulator would closely monitor Crown’s activities and would not hesitate to take action in the event of any further breaches.

The decision comes with recommendations for reform, including the appointment of a government-appointed “special manager” to oversee Crown’s operations and a directive for former major shareholder James Packer to reduce his stake in the company.

This decision occurs against the backdrop of similar findings of misconduct in other states, such as Western Australia and New South Wales, where separate inquiries uncovered issues with Crown’s operations.

Overall, the decision to allow Crown Resorts to continue operating its Melbourne casino reflects a balance between acknowledging past misconduct and providing the company with an opportunity to reform under strict regulatory oversight. It underscores the challenges faced by regulators in maintaining accountability within the gambling industry while considering the broader economic and public interest implications of their decisions.


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