Crown Resorts has tried to play the pity card in Victoria and it didn’t go over very well. The casino operator has already shown its inability to act as a good corporate citizen in New South Wales (NSW) and could be facing similar trouble in Victoria and other states. Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, Crown penned a letter to Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne, warning that any adverse action taken against it would only result in unfavorable circumstances for employees and creditors.
Crown Looks for Sympathy
Authorities in NSW already decided that Crown, with its history of money laundering and machine tampering, isn’t worthy of holding a license in the state. The company may have been trying to stave off another attack from the Victorian front when it sent a letter to Horne, warning that any further suspensions could force it into default on its financial obligations, which would, in turn, lead to forced staff reductions. The company reportedly has at least $AUD600 million ($448M) on the line.
The letter reads, in part, “Crown directly and indirectly employs 11,597 people, over 11,000 of whom are below management level and almost 5,000 of whom are direct EA covered employees. Most of the employees are disconnected from, and have not directly or indirectly contributed to the failures of Old Crown and through COVID-19 they have suffered through significant uncertainties. They will suffer greater uncertainties if there is an [event of default].”
The investigation in Victoria is being led by that state’s Royal Commissioner, Ray Finkelstein, and, in targeting Minister Horne, the conclusion has been that Crown is trying to undermine that investigation. Given Crown’s propensity for subterfuge, it shouldn’t be too surprising. The letter added, “It is not in the public interest for Crown to fail.” Perhaps Crown’s brass should have thought about that years ago.
Crown Tries to Improve Its Image
Crown has been trying to show regulators and government officials that it is cleaning up its act. It has already handed walking papers to a number of top-level executives over the past year and has cut off business relationships with certain entities that were seen as questionable, as well. Later this week, it will hold a forum for senior personnel and some “up and coming performers” to discuss Crown and where it is headed as the company tries to improve its corporate image. By the time the gathering is done, Crown’s new Managing Director and CEO, Steve McCann, hopes the company will have a “roadmap to its future state.”
The Victorian investigation, one of two currently being conducted, was expected to be wrapping up in the coming weeks. However, an extension has been granted and McCann is determined to show that that the company has seen the error of its ways. He expects to be able to turn things around and put the Crown on straight, but has considerable work ahead. Finkelstein and the Royal Commission will make a final ruling on his efforts on or before October 15.