Chips continue to fall with announcement of royal commission into Crown Melbourne

February 23, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

The Victorian Government has announced a royal commission into Crown Melbourne following the revelations from the Bergin report, released last Tuesday.

The commission will investigate Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold its Victorian casino licence. Former federal court judge Raymond Finkelstein QC will lead the commission and hand down his recommendations by 1 August 2021.

Premier Daniel Andrews said, “This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity – and that they’re accountable for their actions.”

The inquiry comes as another director, advertising veteran Harold Mitchell, resigned from the board, leaving just five members at the table. Mitchell had been urged to consider his position by Commissioner Bergin last week.

Helen Coonan, Crown’s Executive Chairman, said the royal commission “provides an opportunity to detail the reforms and changes to our business to deliver the highest standards of governance and compliance, and an organisational culture that meets community expectations.

“Victorians should be assured we recognise the responsibility placed on us by the community, governments and regulators and we will fully cooperate with the Royal Commission.”

The Victorian royal commission allows for an examination with full disclosure as the commission has powers to compel witnesses and documentation. The independent inquiry in Western Australia has been promised all the powers it needs by the Minister for Tourism, Racing and Gaming, Paul Paplia.

The Victorian Government decided to proceed with the commission following careful review of the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) report which revealed both Crown Perth and Melbourne were used to facilitate money laundering by organised criminal syndicates from China.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Melissa Horne said: “The Royal Commission will establish the facts and the Government and the VCGLR will take any necessary action at the conclusion of the investigation. We will not tolerate illegal behaviour in our gaming industry.”

The Victorian government has also commenced work to establish an independent casino regulator and Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne has commissioned a review to advise on the necessary structural and governance arrangements.

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