Last chance for Crown resorts

Perth casino gets strict conditions to continue operations

Australian gaming company Crown Resorts is given one last chance to continue operations at its Crown Casino Perth. However, the casino will have to comply with several new restrictions and conditions to do so. The decision is a compromise after the relevant enquiry committee deemed the group “unfit” to hold the license in its 994-page final report unveiled on Thursday.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Royale Commission has now concluded its money-laundering investigation into the gambling giant after eleven months. The commission concluded that the casino had willingly accepted money laundering and had not conducted independent investigations into specific cases of suspicion.

Crown had also collaborated with junkets that had been in contact with criminals. And finally, the casino had failed to minimise the gambling addiction risk of its electronic gaming machines.

Two-year probation

Despite the serious misconduct, the committee did not recommend that the government revoke the casino’s license. Instead, the gambling group should be granted a two-year probationary period. It should restructure the entire business model, risk management, and player protection and anti-money laundering measures.

The Royal Commission has made a total of 59 concrete proposals for change. Some of these, it said, were particularly urgent and would have a significant impact on day-to-day gaming operations. These include the following:

  • Each player will be allowed to spend 28 hours on gaming machines within seven days.
  • Each player is to receive a game ID, through which they can control the playing time and loss limits.
  • VIP members of the so-called “Pearl Room” are to prove that they can afford the “expected high losses”.
  • At the end of the two-year trial period, there will be another external business audit. If Crown is found to be at fault again, this could mean the end of Perth’s casino operations.
  • A wagering limit of A$10 per game is to apply to all slot machines in the main gaming area.
  • In addition, each player will have to set a weekly loss limit.
  • Players who wish to increase their limit will have to undergo a credit check.
  • After three hours of slot machine play, there will be a mandatory break of at least 15 minutes.
  • Players are allowed a maximum of 12 hours of slot machine play in 24 hours.

Australia’s Star Entertainment Group is in similar predicament

Crown Resorts is not the only gambling giant in Australia that has been making negative headlines. The New South Wales Gaming Authority (ILGA) is investigating Crown’s competitor Star Entertainment Group.

This case also involves allegations of money laundering, cooperation with criminal junkets, and player protection deficiencies. ILGA chief executive Philip Crawford commented earlier this week:

‘It is the responsibility of The Star to ensure appropriate anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures are in place and to thoroughly review and manage relationships with businesses, junket partners, and high rollers. We are confident of making appropriate recommendations for any remedial action following a review of The Star’s current business and regulatory compliance.

The authority’s final report is expected to be submitted in June. Until then, the casino group’s business will continue. Nonetheless, the negative press has made itself felt on the stock market recently, leading to a 12% plunge in Star shares, according to Market Watch.