Crown Melbourne Faces New Disciplinary Proceedings from the VGCCC over Alleged Failures Affecting Thousands of Casino Patrons

Daniel Williams

Only a couple of months after Crown Resorts suffered an AU$80-million penalty from the Victorian gambling regulatory body for violating anti-money laundering rules, the operator faces fresh disciplinary action from the watchdog.

This time, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has started proceedings against the Australian gambling giant’s Melbourne casino in relation to its Responsible Services of Gambling obligations. The company now faces allegations of failures that have affected thousands of casino patrons that have been considered vulnerable.

The latest proceedings initiated by the regulator stem from the findings of the Victorian Royal Commission, according to which Crown Resorts violated the delivery of its Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct on multiple occasions. Under the allegations unveiled by the VGCCC, the violations of the Australian casino giant involve inadequate supervision of potentially thousands of customers who had demonstrated signs of risky or problem gambling behaviour – an issue that had previously been highlighted in the final report of the Royal Commission.

Thanks to the fact that the local regulatory bodies have allowed Crown Melbourne to retain its casino operating permit following the findings of the Royal Commission’s investigation, the casino currently offers its services under a conditional licence, which was approved as part of the Australian gambling operator’s recently-completed takeover deal with the US private equity firm Blackstone.

Crown Melbourne Allegedly Breached Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct Rules

Apart from the aforementioned allegations, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission also alleged that Crown Melbourne violated its obligations under the Casino Control Act’s Section 69, which calls for the casino operator to unveil a Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct features a requirement of some form of interaction or referral to specialist services to deal with casino patrons displaying signs of compulsive gambling behaviour or potential gambling-related harm.

These procedures include monitoring casino customers that are gambling for extended periods of time without taking a break – an obligation that Crown Resorts has breached, according to the findings of the Royal Commission’s inquiry. The investigators of the Royal Commission revealed that Crown Melbourne had consistently failed to remain in line with the Play Periods Policy and the Gambling Code, allowing some players to gamble continuously for 12 hours and more without any interaction preventing them from potential harm. The investigation also found that some customers have even been permitted to gamble continuously for more than 24 consecutive hours.

Now, Crown Melbourne faces another large monetary penalty, which could include a fine of up to AU$100 million, a variation of the venue’s casino operating licence, or some additional rectification steps enforced. Fran Thorn, chair of the VGCCC, has explained that the responsible gambling obligations have been unveiled as an additional condition of the casino operating permit in an effort to protect vulnerable casino patrons and prevent gambling-related harm. However, the casino had consistently breached its Gambling Code for many years, which is why it is now facing some regulatory proceedings.

The regulatory body is expected to make another announcement soon, once it has taken into consideration the response of Crown Melbourne to a request for further information regarding the operator’s Responsible Service of Gambling obligations. The VGCCC shared that it is considering whether to unveil further potential disciplinary action against the Australian gambling giant arising from other matters that had previously been highlighted by the Royal Commission’s investigation into the company.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez