Victoria Commission fines Crown $1m for junket conduct failures

Crown Resorts has been issued with a $1m fine by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation for failing to comply with regulatory requirements in relation to junket operations. 

Following an assessment of Crown’s engagement with certain individuals, the Commission concluded that the processes implemented by the group were not robust, as required by internal control statements that had previously been approved.

Furthermore Crown was also found to have failed:

  • to gather necessary information to enable it to make an informed decision concerning the probity of relevant junket entities, and did not check and verify relevant information directly with them; 
  • to ensure that decisions relating to probity assessments were made by decision-makers who understood or were in a position to prioritise Crown’s regulatory obligations; and
  • to maintain appropriate and contemporaneous records relating to junket probity decisions. This failure, says the VCGLR, meant that it was unclear how certain decisions were reached and whether they were made with due regard to Crown’s regulatory obligations. 

In addition to the fine, which is the maximum available, the company has also been issued with a letter to censure, which prohibits it from recommencing junket operations at the Melbourne casino until processes and procedures have been improved to the satisfaction of the Commission.

The group must also report regularly to the Commission on the progress of a reform agenda that it outlined as part of its submissions in this matter. 

Ross Kennedy, VCGLR chairman, said that whilst this is not the first time that the Commission has taken disciplinary action against Crown, it is the first time that it has been fined the maximum amount available. 

“That fine reflects the seriousness of this matter, and the fact that Crown’s failure to implement a robust process occurred over an extended period,” he said. 

“Robust processes must be implemented to ensure that Crown’s Melbourne casino remains free from criminal influence and exploitation. These are strict and legislated regulatory requirements, and this is an area where Crown has repeatedly failed.”

The VCGLR also acknowledges that the matter may be relevant to the Royal Commission into the casino operator and licence, and will continue to assist with the inquiries. 

Helen Coonan, Crown’s executive chairman, commented: “Crown continues to engage with the VCGLR and the Victorian Government in relation to its reform agenda. 

“These reforms and changes to our business are aimed at delivering the highest standards of governance and compliance as we restore public and regulatory confidence in our operations. As part of this reform agenda, Crown has already ceased dealing with all junket operators.”