The Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) will do what is necessary to enforce Crown Resorts to comply with regulations, but only after the final report from the New South Wales (NSW) regulator, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stated.
VCGLR Will Not Act Solely on Recommendations
The Premier of Victoria ruled out the possibility to launch enforcement actions against Crown casinos until the probe in NSW is completed and the report of its findings handed down, despite the opinion from legal advisers for the inquiry that the casino operator turned a blind eye to money laundering taking place, or worse, engaged in the criminal activities.
The VCGLR has already been under massive fire for its sulking, instead of utilizing in full the powers it has to police the industry. Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien questioned why the commission was still waiting for the NSW report before it goes to the bottom of Crown dealings in Melbourne.
“We have not seen Victoria’s regulator lift a finger to test those claims the same way the NSW regulator has done. It’s time for Victoria’s regulator to get out of the kennel and start being a watchdog, not a lap dog.”Michael O’Brien
The annual report of the VCGLR released recently, revealed its investigation related to the 2016 arrest of Crown staff in China was still ongoing and had already piled criticism for the regulator for its ineptitude to deal with the casino’s failings.
Crown Casino in Melbourne Re-Opens
Crown Melbourne was shut down due to the lockdown in the city but it is scheduled to re-open Monday after further easing of the coronavirus restrictions was announced by Victorian Premier on Sunday. The casino will be allowed to re-open up to 10 separate rooms with no more than 10 people per room, offering slot machines and table games only.
Crown, which is the single-largest private employer in Victoria and has been operating its Melbourne gambling establishment since 1994, will have the chance of a “modest restart”, Daniel Andrews noted, while pointing the VCGLR will wait until February to consider the NSW regulator’s recommendations.
Last week, the retired judge overseeing the ILGA inquiry recommended two pathways for the regulator, both of which involved the most severe punishment by the book, the suspension of its license. Adam Bell noted that if the casino was found incapable of working with the regulator, a license suspension contingent of the fulfillment of certain criteria would be appropriate. The other option is to cancel the casino license of Crown.
The counsel for the inquiry also recommended Crown to cut ties with its major shareholder James Packer and his unhealthy influence over the company, including forcing him to sell his stake.