Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Limited has reportedly announced that it is to immediately cease making political contributions as it prepares to undergo license suitability investigations in the states of Western Australia and Victoria.
According to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the Melbourne-headquartered firm used a brief statement to proclaim that it had decided to ‘cease making monetary or in-kind political donations’ of any type after recently pouring approximately $142,920 into a range of campaigns spanning the political spectrum.
The newspaper reported that Crown Resorts Limited has been one of Australia’s most generous political donors over recent years with its about-face coming just three days after the voters of Western Australia returned the government of Premier Mark McGowan to office for a second consecutive four-year term. Information from the Australian Electoral Commission purportedly shows that the casino giant handed over about $28,000 to the incumbent’s latest campaign while simultaneously gifting around $36,800 to his Liberal Party opposition.
A spokesperson for the Liberal Party reportedly told The Sydney Morning Herald that the party would not be accepting any further donations from Crown Resorts Limited until after the completion of the Western Australia inquiry into the firm’s suitability to hold a gambling license for its Crown Perth facility. This was purportedly quickly followed by a similar assertion from McGowan’s Labor Party to put the embattled operator out of the local political scene until at least mid-November.
The Victoria and Western Australia examinations were reportedly initiated after an analogous New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority probe led by former New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin determined that Crown Resorts Limited was not fit to hold a casino license for its new Crown Sydney development. This costly verdict was purportedly ascribed over allegations that the company may have been complicit in a slew of money laundering offenses tied to its use of foreign junket firms.
The newspaper reported that the premiers for both Western Australia and Victoria have since publicly declared that they would be prepared to immediately terminate Crown Resorts Limited’s casino license if it is found to have facilitated money laundering. This would purportedly impact not only the Crown Perth property but also the Sydney-listed operator’s flagship Crown Melbourne, where it chalked up in the region of 66% of its most recent $1.73 billion in annual revenues.
In related news and long-time anti-gambling parliamentarian Andrew Wilkie (pictured) reportedly told the Australian Associated Press news service that it was ‘way beyond time’ for Crown Resorts Limited to cease making political donations. The independent campaigner purportedly described the timing of the operator’s latest move as ‘curious’ before declaring that the firm ‘is obviously in a whole lot of trouble’ and is now ‘working to clean up its act’.
Wilkie reportedly pronounced…
“The gambling giant has paid millions of dollars to the political parties during the last 20 years, mostly to the Liberal Party and Labor Party. Frankly no political party should accept donations from any gambling company and the pressure is now on the parties to follow Crown Resorts Limited’s lead and promise to end their reliance on the industry.”