The lawyer leading the investigation into Crown Casino in Victoria said that the gambling operator is not fit to hold a casino operating licence in the state due to evidence for unlawful conduct encouraged by a corporate culture that put generating profit ahead of keeping the company’s integrity and the fact it has lost the trust of the local community.
In his final submissions on the matter, Adrian Finanzio SC explained that the gambling firm’s efforts to bring some changes to its policies and corporate culture may not be enough to regain public trust that had been lost because of the consistent violations of law and ethical standards. He concluded that Crown Resorts is currently not suitable to hold a casino licence in Victoria, with the evidence gathered during the investigation revealing serious misconduct that has been facilitated or encouraged by a corporate culture that gave the advantage to profit before everything else.
Mr Finanzio further shared that it was also open for Ray Finkelstein QC, the commissioner, to say that Crown Resorts was fit to keep its casino licence in Victoria but noted this would be a hard thing to do considering the evidence.
On the other hand, the Australian casino giant has acknowledged its mistakes and is currently on the path to improving its conduct in order to become fit to keep its licence.
Crown Resorts Put Profit Ahead of Integrity in Its Corporate Dealings, Probe Finds
As explained by the counsel assisting the Royal Commission in Victoria, Crown Resorts is set to remain unsuitable to hold a casino operating licence for some period of time. Adrian Finanzio SC added that there was no guarantee whether the gambling company could or would become suitable in the future.
Mr Finanzio noted that it would be up to the Royal Commission to recommend cancellation of the licence but that should be carefully considered as it is not a decision that could be made lightly, especially considering the fact that the Crown complex had been part of the city for years and is currently the biggest single-site employer there.
The submission made by the assisting counsel is set to be taken into consideration by Commissioner Finkelstein at the time when he makes his recommendation about the operating licence of Crown Melbourne by October 15th. If the Royal Commissioner recommends the Australian gambling giant lose its licence, the Government of Premier Daniel Andrews has committed to following Mr Finkelstein’s recommendation.
As heard by the Royal Commission in Victoria, Crown Resorts has underpaid its tax to the local Government by up to AU$272 million. The gambling operator may owe the state unpaid taxes of almost half a billion dollars but has so far agreed to repay AU$50 million. As found during the investigation, the operator wrongly sold casino chips worth AU$160 million through its hotel desk, and it has threatened to file a complaint regarding the gambling regulatory body to the gaming minister.
During the final week of the Royal Commission’s hearings earlier in July, Mr Finkelstein said that the investigation had found misconduct or unacceptable behaviour from people who worked at different levels of Crown Resort’s corporate hierarchy.