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  • The WA government has ordered its own inquiry into Crown Resorts (CWN) following last week's NSW investigation
  • During a meeting yesterday, the Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia (GWC) formally recommended the independent inquiry, which will have all the powers of a royal commission
  • GWC also recommended banning junkets at Crown Perth and will force the company to gain approval before establishing gaming bank accounts
  • WA, NSW and Victoria have formed a tri-state working group to ensure a consistent approach to bringing Crown into line
  • Crown's Executive Chairman, Helen Coonan, said the company would co-operate in the inquiry and "play a constructive role with all of its regulators"
  • Crown Resorts is down 0.61 per cent to $9.70 per share

The WA government has ordered its own inquiry into Crown Resorts (CWN) following last week's NSW investigation.

The Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia (GWC) held a meeting last night and formally recommended the independent inquiry, which will have all the powers of a royal commission.

The recommendation comes after last Tuesday's report by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin into the company's Sydney operations.

The report found that Crown had facilitated money laundering through shell accounts connected to its Perth and Melbourne casinos and was "recklessly indifferent" to the activities of criminals using those accounts to launder money from 2014 until they were closed in October 2019. The report has already led to the company being deemed no longer suitable to hold the license for its new Sydney casino.

It also found that Crown had partnered with junket operators linked to organised crime.

"Following the release of the Bergin report last Tuesday, the GWC immediately referred it to the WA State's Solicitor's Office for advice," the regulator said in a statement.

"The advice received identified that under Western Australian legislation the GWC could not rely on the Bergin Inquiry to make findings in relation to Crown Perth."

WA Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said the government "takes these issues extremely seriously" and would act on the recommended inquiry as soon as possible, giving it all the power it needs.

"I would like to thank the Gaming and Wagering Commission for providing timely advice following its consideration of the Bergin Inquiry this afternoon," he added.

"A formal recommendation from the Commission regarding an inquiry into the issues raised in the Bergin Inquiry, specific to Crown Perth operations, will now be finalised."

In addition to the investigation, the GWC has recommended banning junkets at Crown Perth and will use its powers under the WA Casino Control Act to force the company to gain approval before establishing gaming bank accounts.

The GWC has now contacted regulators in NSW and Victoria — other regions where Crown operates — to form a working group and establish a consistent approach to bringing Crown into line. This group will work closely with federal agencies responsible for the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.

Helen Coonan, Executive Chairman of the troubled gaming operator, said Crown would fully co-operate in the inquiry.

"Crown is determined to play a constructive role with all of its regulators as it works to restore public and regulatory confidence in its operations," she added.

Crown Resorts is down 0.61 per cent to $9.70 per share at 11:14am AEDT.

CWN by the numbers
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