Australia’s Crown Will Lose Victorian License, Investigation Continues

  • Crown’s Victorian license won’t be allocated next year
  • The operator is under scrutiny by multiple Australian gaming watchdogs
  • Well-connected gamblers from China continue to pervade Australian politics

Crown’s ongoing investigation into alleged connections with Asian crime syndicates could be a symptomp of a culture where well-connected Chinese members of the Communist Party keep invading Australian politics.

Crown’s Victoria License Delayed, But No Revocations

Under investigation, Crown Resorts casino may face stiffer penalties than the company expects. The brand made headlines after it was previously reported that the operator has been allegedly in cahoots with Asian crime syndicates, who are affiliate with junket operators.

Junket operators have been treading on thin ice in Macau as well where China has said that should it establish any connection between offshore gambling facilities and Macau-based junket companies, the latter would face stiff penalties.

Meanwhile, Australia’s gaming watchdogs said that Crown wouldn’t be issued with a much-needed license for a new project in Victoria, one of the states in the country.

Commenting on the likelihood of Crown losing its licenses altogether, Acting Deputy Director-General Liquor Gaming and Fair Trading, Department of Justice and Attorney-General in Queensland, Michael Sarquis said that one such development is unlikely.

Licenses Aren’t Issued to Be Cancelled

Based on Mr. Marquis’ interview for Inside Asian Gaming, licenses are a tough nut to crack – both in terms of obtaining one as well as losing one.

Unlike Europe, for example, where markets such as Sweden are trigger-happy and always ready to strip an operator from a license, in Australia, most companies can expect to hold onto their licenses, specifically because the government also depends on the windfalls from taxing a casino’s Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). Here is what his statement said:

“But we are very well regulated in Australia so the chances of a loss of license is very low and if there is a significant issue it usually comes down to individuals, so those individuals just part ways with the company.”

Even though Queenslad has little to do with Crown Resorts – the company doesn’t operate physically in the state – Mr. Sarquis has been looking into the operations of Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier, specifically in relation to the abundant use of Asia-based junket operators.

Crown Under Investigation

Crown’s investigation focuses specifically on the company’s suggested affiliation with crime groups that have been facilitating the admission of VIP casino customers in Australia, using either forged or expedited visas.

The scandal was given prominence amongst a bid from Melco to buy 20% in Crown Resorts and bring the spectre of Asian junket operators threateningly close to Australia’s shores. Specifically, the Crown investigation examines criminal links between the operator and groups that facilitate money laundering and illegal immigration.

Other concerns have been raised insofar as well-connected members of the inner Party Circle of People’s Republic of China have been visiting Australia to gamble free of scrurtiny and with the approval of their cronies.

This has risen concerns in Washington as to how far the reach of well-heeled Chinese gamers have inflitrated Australian politics, which dictates a lot in a country that is considered one of the main allies to the United States.

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