“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”.
“The Victorian government should be paying very close attention to the NSW casino inquiry – much of the evidence is about alleged crimes and corruption that has happened in the state of Victoria,” Mr Wilkie said.
“It’s beyond belief that the VCGLR is apparently still being trusted by the Victorian government to investigate Crown, given the VCGLR’s breathtaking failures year after year.”
The VCGLR also confirmed that it failed to meet as required with Crown’s directors between November 2019 and March 2020 to review the implementation of 20 recommendations from the regulator’s 2018 review of Crown’s licence.
However the regulator said it was now satisfied Crown has implemented 17 other recommendations from the review that have fallen due. They include Crown conducting a “robust review” to ensure its anti-money laundering controls are up to scratch; implementing a policy of banning serious criminals from its premises; and improving its corporate governance and risk frameworks.
A Crown spokeswoman said the company “continues to engage and work with the VCGLR to implement all of the recommendations”.
An Andrews government spokeswoman said its new gaming minister, Melissa Horne, had requested “regular updates on these matters from the VCGLR” and also called on relevant federal agencies to provide information to the commission.
State opposition gaming spokesman Peter Walsh said the government admitted there were serious concerns about Crown, and must “tell Victorians why another review is delayed and why critical information is yet again being held behind closed doors”.
Business reporter at The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
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