Victoria’s Officials Set Aside $39.3 million to Increase Crown Melbourne Surveillance

Victoria’s Officials Set Aside $39.3 million to Increase Crown Melbourne Surveillance

Victoria’s state government officials have made up their minds regarding the amount they would dedicate to stronger oversight of Crown Melbourne’s operations. The 2022/23 yearly budget will put aside AU$55.6 million (US$39.3 million) for the implementation of a series of Royal Commission recommendations regarding the iconic venue.

The Money Will Assist Special Manager Stephen O’Bryan’s Work

Special Manager Stephen O’Bryan is responsible for overseeing all of Crown Melbourne’s operations and establishing if the venue deserves to keep its gaming license. According to Royal Commissioner Ray Finkelstein’s report issued in October, the casino was deemed unsuitable to hold on to its license. However, it was given an adjournment over the course of two years during which the appointed Special Manager will need to decide if the license should be reinstated.

To further support O’Bryan’s overseeing activities and efforts, Victoria’s officials will allocate the funds that will be used for a strengthened oversight under the establishment of its new regulator, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission. Victoria’s government will be busy holding the operator accountable with specialized staff and commissioners.

Government officials will be responsible for implementing additional changes in the upcoming months, in an effort to keep implementing all of the Royal Commission’s recommendations. Victoria’s Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne highlighted the ministry’s focus on minimizing gambling harm. She added the Government will continue to deliver its reforms and make new investments necessary to strengthen the oversight of the casino, as well as the entire gambling industry in the state.

No More Preferential Taxes for Crown Melbourne

After doubling down its recovery in February, Crown Melbourne will now need to adjust its tax on slot machines. The new change is expected to bring as much as AU$30 million a year in extra taxes to the state’s treasury, while subjecting the venue to the same taxes like the ones operated by not-for-profit casinos located within the community, including The Returned & Services League of Australia. Treasurer Tim Pallas called the new tax change a “fair and reasonable” one as opposed to the “preferential tax treatment” the establishment received over the years compared to its smaller counterparts.

One of the first measures that the state’s fresh gaming regulator took was to address the casino’s deficiencies in past years. Accordingly, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission initiated disciplinary action against Crown Melbourne Limited in regards to the illegal use of China Union Pay cards that the Royal Commission came across. Crown Melbourne is facing a huge AU$100 million ($75 million) sanction for the card fund transfers after the Royal Commission’s report in 2021 showed the entirety of the scheme used by the operator between 2012 and 2016.

AUSTRAC, the country’s financial crime watchdog will also initiate civil penalty proceedings against Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne. The two are accused of alleged contraventions in regards to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.

Author: Ian Douglas