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Australia – Crown holds onto Melbourne licence despite being slammed as ‘illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative’

By - 26 October 2021

Australia’s Crown Resorts has managed to hold onto its licence to operate its casino in Melbourne despite a royal commission slamming the company for being ‘illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative.’

Having detailed a ‘litany of failings’ by Crown including the fact it had ‘facilitated money laundering,’ Commissioner, Ray Finkelstein said a special manager should be instructed to supervise management of the casino for two years. He also highlighted ‘a deliberate lack of cooperation and candour on the part of Crown Melbourne and its senior executives.’

Mr. Finkelstein said: “Many senior executives involved in the misconduct were indifferent to their ethical, moral and sometimes legal obligations” and lawyers who knew Crown wanted to engage in conduct that contravened some laws “failed to counsel Crown Melbourne not to go ahead.”

“There is real risk of significant harm to the Victorian economy and to innocent third parties if Crown Melbourne’s licence were immediately cancelled,” he added. “Crown Melbourne has the will and the capacity to reform itself so that it again becomes a suitable person to hold a casino licence and can remove the stain on its reputation.”

“The Special Manager should be appointed to oversee and control its affairs for a period of two years. At the end of that period, the regulator should determine whether it is clearly satisfied that Crown Melbourne has become a suitable person to hold its casino licence and that it is in the public interest for it to do so. If, in two years, the regulator decides that Crown Melbourne is a suitable person to continue to hold its casino licence, it is likely that Crown Resorts will be a suitable associate of Crown Melbourne.”

Crown stated: “Crown is currently reviewing the Report and the Victorian Government’s response. Crown will work cooperatively and constructively with the Victorian Government in relation to the findings and recommendations of the Report and their response.”

The Commissioner also wants James Packer’s investment company, Consolidated Press Holdings, to lessen stake of 37 per cent to less than five per cent within three years saying it ‘abused its position as a dominant shareholder, which included retaining significant control over the affairs of the company, even after he resigned as chairman in 2018.’ Although Crown ceased operating junkets in May, Mr. Finkelstein said they should be banned forever.

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