Crown Resorts logo Source: Reuters
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  • The Perth Casino Royal Commission finds Crown Resorts (CWN) unsuitable to hold a gaming licence in Western Australia, but is allowed to continue its operations
  • Crown had been found to have facilitated money laundering, failed to investigate suspicions of money laundering, permitted junkets with links to criminals to operate at the casino and failed to minimise gambling-related harm through the use of electronic gaming machines, amongst other things
  • WA Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti says that the government has accepted the royal commission’s findings
  • The commission has given Crown two years to remediate its failings, and will be monitored by an independent body
  • CWN shares are up 1.04 per cent, trading at $12.60

Crown Resorts (CWN) has been found unsuitable to hold a gaming licence in Western Australia by the Perth Casino Royal Commission, but the resorts chain is allowed to continue operating.

Crown had been found to have facilitated money laundering, failed to investigate suspicions of money laundering, permitted junkets with links to criminals to operate at the casino and failed to minimise gambling-related harm through the use of electronic gaming machines, amongst other things.

WA Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti had said that the government has accepted the royal commission’s findings.

“The royal commission found that the Crown entities are presently not suitable to continue to hold a gaming licence for the Perth Casino,” Western Australia gaming minister Tony Buti told reporters in a press conference.

“The royal commission details the remediation activities which Crown will need to implement to become suitable.

The commission, however, stopped short of calling for Crown to be stripped of its licence, saying the casino giant should undertake remediation work to become suitable, and calling for an independent monitor to be established.

“The government accepts the need to overhaul the regulatory legislation including increased powers and penalties and to improve the Gaming and Wagering Commission’s resources.

“The people of Western Australia, including the thousands of hardworking casino employees deserve better in terms of the operations of the Perth casino and casino regulation.”

The commission has given Crown two years to make right its failings, and will be monitored by an independent body.

A significant part of the Perth commission’s focus was investigating potential conflicts of interest between government gambling regulators and Crown casino-employed executives.

It examined in great detail the friendship between former Chief Casino Officer Michael Connolly and Paul Hulme, Crown’s Manager of Gaming and Regulatory Compliance, and Claude Marais, Crown’s General Manager of Legal and Compliance.

The string of scandals and public inquiries into Crown’s behaviour resulted in an almost complete clean-out of Crown’s senior management and board of directors in the two years after a string of media outlets reported the company of knowingly dealing with foreign tour operators with ties to organised crime and turning a blind eye to money laundering.

Even though Crown initially took out full-page newspaper advertisements to deny the allegations, they later acknowledged they were largely true during hearings and released a statement with a few words from Crown Managing Director and CEO, Steve McCann.

“Crown remains committed to continuous improvement across all facets of the business and is prioritising the delivery of safe and responsible gaming across all of our resorts, including Crown Perth,” Mr McCann said.

The finding that Crown is unfit for its licence is in line with previous inquiries in the two other states where the company founded by billionaire James Packer has casinos.

Victoria, which is also Crown’s biggest-earning resort, also recommended letting the company continue under supervision despite declaring it unsuitable for a licence.

Similarly in New South Wales, it had Crown’s licence suspended just before it opened a $2.2 billion resort on the Sydney waterfront in December 2020.

CWN shares were up 1.04 per cent, trading at $12.60 at market close.

CWN by the numbers
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