No answers from ‘urgent’ Crown casino probe one year later
10 Sep 2020

Victoria’s gambling regulator is yet to report back to the state government on an “urgent” investigation into Crown Resort’s Melbourne casino more than a year after being ordered to examine its infiltration by organised crime.

The Andrews government ordered the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation probe after The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes revealed Crown Resorts went into business with junket operators tied to powerful Asian crime syndicates.

Victoria’s then-gaming minister, Marlene Kairouz – who quit the ministry in June in the wake of the Labour branch stacking scandal – said the gambling regulator would examine the issues “as a matter of priority”, consult with Victoria Police and federal law enforcement agencies and report back to her “as soon as possible”.

But the VCGLR confirmed this week that more than a year later, it has not completed its investigation.

“The VCGLR continues to assess whether Crown’s due diligence in relation to junket operations was appropriate during the relevant times,” a VCGLR spokeswoman said.

The VCGLR was aware of the other investigations or inquiries underway into Crown, she said, and “continues to carefully monitor these matters to inform any regulatory action which may be required”.

The NSW gambling regulator has been revealing damning evidence about how Crown’s lax due diligence resulted in it forging business relationships that connected it to Asian Triad gangs, and how failures in anti-money laundering controls opened it up to being used by criminals to launder dirty cash. The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority is considering whether Crown should be able to keep the licence for its new Sydney casino, due to open in December.

Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie, who has helped Crown staff become whistleblowers and facilitated damaging leaks about impropriety at the casino, said the Victorian “snap investigation” was a sham designed to bury the allegations. He said it was a relief the NSW government “has some idea of what its job is”.

By Patrick Hatch, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 2020

Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald

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