VGCCC decides Crown Melbourne should keep casino licence following Royal Commission

April 2, 2024
By Cody Profaca

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) decided last week that it is “clearly satisfied” Crown Melbourne is suitable to continue operations and that it is in the public’s interest that the venue maintains its Melbourne Casino Licence. 

The announcement follows on from a 2021 Royal Commission that showed how Crown Melbourne had breached its legal, social, and moral obligations, in turn facilitating illegal activities such as tax avoidance, money laundering, criminal associations, and significant harm to vulnerable community members. The 2021 Royal Commission reached the conclusion that the casino was unsuitable to hold its Casino License.  

“Despite the enormity of its findings, the Finkelstein Royal Commission recommended Crown be permitted to continue operating under stringent independent oversight conditions for two years, determining it had the will and capacity to transform itself to again become suitable, which would be to Victoria’s benefit,” said Fran Thorn, Chair of the 2021 Royal Commission. 

Last week, the full Commission unanimously agreed that Crown Melbourne had addressed the failings highlighted in 2021.

“There was no evidence of maladministration or illegal or improper conduct indicative of the serious and systemic failures previously identified by the Royal Commission, and these failings had been addressed,” said Thorn. 

“During our investigations, we observed a different Crown Melbourne emerging with a clear understanding of the privilege and obligations of holding the Melbourne Casino Licence.”

In the wake of the 2021 Royal Commission, the Victorian Government appointed a Special Manager to oversee changes to Crown Melbourne’s operations and remediation via a comprehensive transformation plan. At the same time, the VGCCC was also established as a new gambling industry-specific regulator

“That transformation plan will be at the heart of our oversight, along with Crown’s legal and social obligations, and provides the next level standard for Crown Melbourne. The Commission will require Crown Melbourne to deliver further transformation through a statutory direction that will be issued shortly,” said Thorn.

“In return for the privilege of an exclusive licence, Victorians have a right to expect that Crown Melbourne will never again prioritise profit ahead of the safety and wellbeing of its patrons and staff or over compliance with its legal and social obligations.

“Crown Melbourne must continue to seek to rebuild and earn public trust by demonstrating the good character, honesty and integrity that are necessary to remain a suitable casino operator. We put Crown on notice that this Commission will not hesitate to act if the privilege of holding the casino licence is again abused.”

Share the content