Australia’s Crown Resorts Fined M for Misconduct
Crown’s Melbourne, Australia casino has been slammed with $77.3 million in fines for breaching South Australia’s Responsible Service of Gambling legislation. The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has imposed two fines totaling $77.3 million.
The Aussie casino company was fined for consistently failing to stop customers from gambling for long periods, sometimes more than 24 hours, without a break. It was also fined for ignoring the regulator’s direction to prevent patrons from using plastic picks and other devices to simulate automatic play on its video poker machines. (In fact, the VGCCC said, the casino even supplied patrons with Crown-branded counterfeit tokens to jam down their play buttons.)
Crown was acquired by Blackstone (NYSE: BX) for $65 billion in June 2022.
Crown in Blackstone’s Side
VGCCC chair Fran Thorn said Crown failed in its “legal and moral obligation” to minimize gambling-related harm to its patrons.
“The record fines totaling $120 million that we have imposed on Crown today will send a powerful message to Crown that the Commission will not tolerate misconduct that exposes our community to increased risks of gambling related harm,” she said.
Thorn said the breaches were “not isolated,” but part of “a pattern of extensive, sustained and systemic failures by Crown that spanned roughly 12 years.”
“The stories of financial loss, of suicide attempts, of forced sex work,” Thorn said. The people who gambled for two to three days straight. These are real stories of real harm. We cannot forget and we cannot tolerate it.”
In October 2021, after an eight-week prove into Crown, the VGCCC concluded that the company was not suitable to operate its Melbourne resort. However, in a concession, the state gave the troubled company time to overhaul how it did business.
“The  royal commission found Crown did not change its ways,” Thorn said this week. “Once again, Crown’s behavior contradicted its claims to be a world leader in responsible gambling practices,” she said.
Crown Accepts Punishment
The VGCCC said Crown had accepted the disciplinary action and the need for it to continue working on reforms.
“Crown is working very hard to be trustworthy and to meet the concept of an acceptable associate,” Thorn said.
This is the second time the VGCCC has used its stronger enforcement powers to take disciplinary action against Crown. In May 2022, the VGCCC fined Crown more than $51 million for scheming to allow the illegal transfer of funds from China.
This latest series of fines brings the total fines imposed on Crown by the VGCCC since receiving its strengthened enforcement powers to $128.43 million.
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