Crown Resorts is desperately seeking to improve its compliance ahead of an urgent review of its casino license in Victoria by the state government. The casino operator announced new requirements related to transfers of money to its properties in Melbourne and Perth.
Money Transfers Only from Personal Bank Accounts
According to the new measure aimed to curb any money laundering attempts, Crown casinos will only accept money transferred from its members’ personal bank accounts. Transfers initiated from a trust or business account will not be accepted and will be returned.
Under the new requirements sent in a letter to its members December 24, cash deposits made to the casino operator’s bank accounts will not be released to the clients. Instead, Crown Resorts will require patrons to provide a receipt of deposit before the funds can be credited to their private accounts.
From now on gamblers will have to provide their name and Crown rewards number when sending funds to the casino, and international transfers would also have to specify the details of the bank or other financial entity involved, Crown told its members, claiming the changes were necessary to meet legal obligations.
“Any other description or narration on the transfer must either state that the purpose of the transfer is for gaming or gambling, or to repay a debt. Crown will not release any funds where it considers that the description or narration is misleading.”Crown Resorts Letter
The new measures were introduced after the New South Wales (NSW) inquiry held by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) uncovered significant breaches in anti-money laundering (AML) controls at Crown Melbourne, as a result of which the regulator ordered the operator to delay the opening of the casino at its AU$2.2 billion casino resort in Barangaroo near Sydney.
Plethora of Shortcomings
More than 60 days of public hearings under the NSW inquiry revealed a plethora of Crown Resorts’ shortcomings in procedures and controls, including two bank accounts held at ANZ and Commonwealth banks being shut down by the banks on suspicions of money laundering of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Besides the bank accounts, Crown had dealings with junket operators linked to Chinese organized crime, and was under the detrimental impact of its major shareholder James Packer. By the end of the inquiry Crown admitted its operations might have been used for money laundering and vowed to introduce changes.
Crown Sydney opened its non-gaming parts on Monday as per the requirement from ILGA which wanted to have the full inquiry report submitted, February 1, before considering whether to allow Crown to retain its casino license or not.
The results of the inquiry forced Victorian government to fast-track by 2 years the next major review of Crown Resorts’ Melbourne license. The 7th review that was not expected before 2023 by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to determine Crown’s suitability to hold a state casino license is now pending the appointment by gaming Minister Melissa Horne of a dedicated sessional commissioner to lead it.