Daniel Andrews, the Premier of the state of Victoria, has revealed that he is ready to revoke the operating licence for Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino in case such a step is recommended by the Royal Commission.
The future of the Australian gambling giant’s casino venue in Melbourne has been put under question after the Victorian Government announced an unprecedented inquiry into the company’s casino operations late on February 22nd. The investigation is aimed at finding out whether the company had broken the state’s gambling legislation and whether it was fit to hold a gaming operating licence in Victoria.
When asked whether the company could lose its operating licence for its Melbourne property, Mr Andrews said that the Royal Commission was set to determine whether the casino operator was suitable to keep it or not. He further shared that it would be a “rigorous process”.
The inquiry into Crown Melbourne’s operations has commenced following the condemning report of the gambling company’s operations in New South Wales (NSW) that was officially handed down by Commissioner Bergin. Ms Bergin’s inquiry found that Crown Resorts was not fit to hold a licence for its new Barangaroo casino after evidence about money laundering and other breaches emerged.
Investigation in Victorian Operations of Crown Resorts Follows Condemning NSW Report
The Government of Victoria and the local gambling regulators have faced some criticism for not addressing some concerns that have been associated with the performance of Crown Melbourne’s casino so far. Mr Andrews, however, defended them, saying that the appointment of the Royal Commission would mean legal issues that the Commissioner, former Federal Court justice Ray Finkelstein, will be the one to take care of all legal issues that could arise from the situation.
The Premier of Victoria also said that he did not intend to appologise for the situation, especially considering the fact that the state has already started the highest and most formal legal process in place to determine whether Crown Resorts’ business in Melbourne should keep its operating licence or not. He said he would not look back and regret that the Government had taken quite some time to start the inquiry. Mr Andrews reminded that Crown Melbourne is more than just a gaming floor. For the time being, the venue is the largest single solid employer in Victoria and it is expected to be operated in accordance with the highest standards.
Andrews also highlighted that, at this stage, he was not making any projections whether the Australian casino giant will keep or lose its Melbourne licence, saying that was the inquiry’s purpose.
Apart from the fact that the Victorian inquiry followed the damning evidence provided by Commissioner Bergin to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), it was also issued after the Government of Western Australia revealed its own probe into some of the allegations made in Bergin’s report.