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Crown Melbourne Hit With New Fine Worth 30 Million Australian Dollars

Posted on April 28, 2023 | 7:03 am

Crown Resorts, the biggest owner and operator of land-based casinos in Australia, has received more bad news from Victoria after the state regulator has decided to slap the company with a fine worth 30 million Australian dollars.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission found that Crown Melbourne had engaged in a “bank cheque practice”, which allowed casino patrons to gamble by depositing bank cheques made out to themselves and not to Crown. Those patrons were allowed to use those funds for gambling even before the respective cheques had cleared.

This fine takes the total amount Crown Melbourne has been fined over the past year to a staggering 230 million Australian dollars. The casino operator has been previously fined 80 million Australian dollars in May 2022 for the illegal use of China Union Pay cards to fund gambling transactions and a further 120 million Australian dollars in November 2022 for several failures to comply with Responsible Service of Gambling obligations.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission issued a statement in which it pointed out that casinos in the state can’t allow the use of cheques except in limited circumstances, otherwise they would be exposed to significant money laundering risks.

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In the case of Crown Melbourne, the Commission found that the use of cheques was not an exceptional practice, it was long-running and also undocumented, that is why it was seen as “a serious contravention.”

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Blank Cheques for Gambling Chips

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission also noted that the Royal Commission which made an inquiry into the activity of Crown Resorts at the Melbourne casino had found that the operator allegedly accepted blank cheques in exchange for gambling chips.

The allegation also says that Crown Melbourne employees then wrote the amount of the debt a patron incurred on that blank cheque once the respective customer had finished gambling. This procedure would be another serious breach of the Casino Control Act.

However, for the moment the Commission decided that the evidence regarding the use of blank cheques is not sufficient to prove whether Crown Melbourne actually did that or not. Nevertheless, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission decided to issue directions to Crown Melbourne to ban the bank and blank cheque practices at their casino.

“This is the second time we’ve taken action on undocumented practices at the casino, and we will investigate further to ensure there are no more,” said Fran Thorn, the Chairperson of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

Crown Resorts issued a response in which the company said it “accepts the outcome from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission” and added that the respective practices “have ceased.”

SOURCE“Crown Melbourne hit with new US$20 million fine for illegal “bank cheque practice”“Inside Asian Gaming. April 27, 2023.

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