The Western Australia’s Gaming and Wagering Commission could call for the cancellation of Crown Perth’s license even before the Royal Commission inquiry ends. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Royal Commission has been extended
As Crown Perth’s license inquiry continues, the gambling regulator of Western Australia may call for the cancellation of the operator’s license before the findings of the investigations are released. Attorney Paul Evans announced that the Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) is watching closely as the Royal Commission continues its investigation into the gaming operator. Its suitability to hold licensing in the country is in question.
Western Australia state has given more time for the probe of its Crown Perth’s operations
At the same time, Crown Resorts announced that Western Australia state has given more time for the probe of its Crown Perth’s operations. The investigation will now continue to March 2022 with a broader range of topics now under review.
Crown Perth’s license inquiry
The attorney for GWC stated that local laws allow the Racing and Gaming Minister to act on Commission advice. If members feel that Crown is unsuitable, they will call on Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby to cancel the casino its license.
Mr. Evans stated that the GWC would not wait until the investigation concludes if they feel that immediate action is required.
The Perth Casino Royal Commission heard opening statements of the inquiry on Monday and later this week, witness hearings will begin. There are several areas of interest under review involving Crown Perth and its operations, including Crown Perth’s management of problem gambling, potential money laundering and criminal infiltration into operations, and the possibility that Crown was able to influence policies regarding electronic gaming machines and junket regulations.
Officials are considering the casino’s response to the arrest of staff members back in 2016 in China, as well. The corporate culture and operations of companies owned by Crown and suitability of changes based on the Bergin inquiry are also under consideration.
The Bergin report
Crown Resorts has seen several of its properties under investigation, starting with its newest one, a casino in Sydney. It was the Sydney review that led to additional investigations involving Crown casino properties.
Earlier this year, Patricia Bergin issued a 751-page report after a year-long investigation into the operator. Ms. Bergin was the head of the New South Wales inquiry into Crown Resorts.
In the report, Bergin outlined several reasons why the inquiry chose to reject Crown Sydney’s license, including evidence of money laundering at casinos operated by Crown and operations in China that led to staff arrests. The report also linked Crown’s junket operators to organized crime.
While the report was damning, Bergin revealed that changes within the company could help it secure licensing once again. Bergin advised Crown Resorts to work with the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) on a remediation action plan.
Reviewing Crown companies and directors
In the Perth review, Counsel Patricia Cahill revealed that the Royal Commission would look at Crown companies and associates. Companies under review include Burswood Nominees Ltd, which is the holder of the Perth casino license.
intends to examine […] the experience, competence, and integrity of past directors”
Ms. Cahill explained that the Commission will examine past directors of the entities that are part of the investigation, saying: “In terms of governance, this commission intends to examine, among other things, the experience, competence, and integrity of past directors of each of the entities subject to the inquiry.”
Crown Resorts chair Helen Coonan will provide evidence in the case, as will Maryna Fewster, a Crown Perth board member. Alan McGregor, Crown Resorts’ chief financial officer, and Crown Perth chief operating officer Lonnie Bossi must also testify.
Officials initially set a November date for the Royal Commission to deliver a final report on the Perth findings. However, an extension has been granted, pushing the deadline to March 4, 2022.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the government believes that it is in the best interest of the public to provide sufficient time for the investigation.