31/05/2022 - 11:11

Crown cops $80m fine over pay scheme

31/05/2022 - 11:11

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Crown has been handed an $80 million fine by the Victorian gambling watchdog and warned there could be more to come as the fallout from the Royal Commission continues.

Crown cops $80m fine over pay scheme
The inquiry uncovered that Crown’s Melbourne casino had allowed patrons to illegally access and transfer funds via a China UnionPay bank card.

Casino giant Crown has been fined $80 million by the Victorian gambling watchdog and warned there could be more to come as the fallout from the royal commission continues.

The disciplinary action comes after the inquiry uncovered that Crown’s Melbourne casino had allowed patrons to illegally access and transfer funds via a China UnionPay bank card between 2012 and 2016, a process that facilitated access to almost $164 million.

Investigators from the state’s Gambling and Casino Control Commission estimate the process generated revenue for Crown in the order of $32 million.

The fine is the largest issued by the VGCCC under the watchdog’s newly-strengthened powers under the Casino Control Act.

While acknowledging the casino giant deserved some credit for its cooperative approach, VGCCC chairperson Fran Thorn said the record $80 million fine was warranted given the seriousness of Crown’s conduct and would strip it of any revenue it derived from the process.

“Crown’s CUP process was a clandestine, deliberate process, which not only breached the Casino Control Act but was also devised to assist patrons to breach China’s foreign currency exchange restrictions,” she said.

“Crown was aware of the risk that the CUP process could be illegal but decided to run that risk. 

“In doing so, it showed no regard for upholding its regulatory obligations. 

“Indeed, it went to some lengths to hide what it was doing.

“Crown benefited handsomely from its illegal conduct.”

The VGCCC indicated the fine wouldn’t be the last issued in the wake of the inquiry, with further disciplinary action being considered that could attract a fine of up to $100 million.

In a statement released to the market this morning, Crown acknowledged its historic failings and reiterated its commitment to delivering a comprehensive reform and remediation program.

Crown has been given 28 days to pay the fine.

Shares in Crown Resorts were down 0.43 per cent at 1:44pm AEST to trade at $12.86.

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