Crown Resorts to Continue Licensed Operations in Melbourne

Crown Resorts The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has given its final verdict on Crown Resorts’ licensing situation in Melbourne, ruling in favour of the gambling company keeping its VGCCC-issued licence.

In the past several years, Crown Resorts has undergone major changes following a range of significant regulatory breaches. In a statement celebrating today’s positive turn of events, Mike Volkert, Crown Melbourne’s CEO, stressed the significance of this milestone and commended the company’s team members for their successful efforts in implementing “meaningful change,” which has resulted in the company’s transformation. He also said that Crown Melbourne will continue to aspire towards “delivering the highest industry standards” and prioritising patrons’ wellbeing when it comes to decisions made by him and his team.

A Series of Major Issues

Crown Resort To say that Crown has had a rough several years would be an understatement, especially when we take into account the massive AU$450 million fine the gambling giant was forced to pay after the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) found Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne guilty of breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations.

The company’s series of struggles began in 2021 when the VGCCC determined that Crown had not adhered to money-laundering-related legislation and had failed to pay the full gambling tax owed to the Victorian state. The violations had taken place over the course of nearly half a decade, from 2012 to 2016, in what ultimately resulted in an “alarming catalogue of wrongdoing,” according to Commissioner Ray Finkelstein. However, due to concerns regarding the Victorian economy’s stability, Crown dodged being stripped of its licence at the time. The company was later given two years to take steps towards addressing its wrongdoings.

Crown faced further scrutiny in 2022 after it was discovered that Crown Melbourne had not done its due diligence to keep clients safe when it came to problem gambling. Namely, some Crown customers had spent over 24 hours gambling without taking any breaks, a behaviour that should have been prevented through intervention from staff, according to VGCCC rules. This resulted in Crown being mandated to pay AU$100 million in financial penalties and another AU$20 million after it was uncovered that guests had been enabled to partake in auto-play by using plastic picks.

The Road to Improvement

Ciaran Carruthers In today’s announcement, Ciaran Carruthers, who currently serves as the CEO of Crown Resorts, said that Crown Resorts has “pioneered one of the most complex transformations ever undertaken in Australia” following the company’s leadership changes and its acquisition by Blackstone. He also pointed to the 10,000+ pages of documentation and the 770 remediation activities that have been accumulated.

Indeed, a lot has been done for Crown to redeem itself, which is now reflected in the VGCCC’s decision to allow Crown to retain its licence in Melbourne. These efforts have taken on many forms, especially when it comes to the company’s commitment to protecting patrons.

July 2023 saw the introduction of the Crown PlaySafe plan, which outlined various measures centred around prevention of gambling harm, research, and a decision to replace “Responsible Gambling” with Crown PlaySafe to avoid gambling harm victims being subjected to stigma. This was followed by the establishment of the Crown PlaySafe Centre in Crown Melbourne. It was also in 2023 when Casino Guardian reported on the launch of a crucial safer gambling measure by Crown Melbourne, dubbed “carded play.” It facilitates the setting of gaming limits, the monitoring of players for problem gambling, and more, through the Crown Player Card.

According to Mr Volkert, Crown Melbourne is currently “the safest venue in Victoria” when it comes to gaming. Mr Carruthers further stressed that Crown will continue to focus on “delivering the highest standards of integrity” and the minimisation of gambling harm.

It should also be noted that, as stated in today’s announcement, Crown Melbourne will continue to cooperate with the VGCCC. As for Crown Sydney, how the establishment’s licensing predicament will be handled remains to be seen. Crown Perth, on the other hand, is still working on implementing its remediation measures.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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