The Western Australia (WA) Gaming Authority has recommended that Prime Minister Mark McGowan’s government conduct an independent investigation into Crown Resorts’ eligibility to hold the only casino license in the state.
The recommendation was made after an urgent meeting of the local Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) and was supported by the Gaming Minister.
The move follows the revelations made during the investigation into the operations of the Australian gambling giant in New South Wales (NSW) and Commissioner Patricia Bergin’s damning report on the gambling company. The report found that Crown Resorts is unable to maintain its operating license for the new Barangaroo Waterfront Casino due to years of money laundering by other branded casino operations.
At its February 16 meeting, the Gaming and Betting Commission took into account the prosecutor’s recommendations following the findings of Commissioner Bergin’s investigation into Crown Resorts’ operations. The GWC issued a statement in which it revealed that it would try to open an independent investigation because in the NSW investigation it was unable to find out more details related to the Crown Perth Casino, which was more on focused on the company’s suitability to carry out the Barangaroo Casino project.
The Western Australia Gambling Regulator recognized the seriousness of the findings of Ms. Bergin’s investigation.
GWC hopes the Crown Perth investigation would answer questions about the casino’s operation
As announced by the GWC, the watchdog officially intends to set up an independent investigation in Crown Perth under the direction of Paul Papalia, Minister for Racing, Games and Alcohol.
The Gaming and Wagering Commission also said the investigation would hopefully determine the eligibility of Crown Perth and its close associates to hold the only casino license in the state of Western Australia. Aside from that, the Commissioner also wants to find out how appropriate the Crown Perth Casino’s response to the regulator was before and during the NSW investigation and how effective the local authorities, including the GWC and the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries, were in serving. The state gaming regulator would also like to consider any regulatory controls or changes to existing legislation that address issues raised by Commissioner Bergin’s investigation.
The regulator said that in launching the requested investigation, the commission would ensure that it has the powers of a royal commission. Additionally, the Gambling Regulator announced that it would attempt to ratify instructions that would require its approval to ban so-called junket operations at the Perth Casino venue owned by Crown Resorts in Perth and to open casino accounts for the operator.
Regarding junket operations, the Western Australia Gaming and Wagering Commission said it was confident that no such operations would take place in Crown Perth as of March 2020 as international borders have been closed by the coronavirus pandemic. The regulator announced that the last junket from Macau to Crown Perth was registered in March 2020, while the last was registered from mainland China and Hong Kong in November 2016 and August 2019, respectively.
Upon receiving the letter, Crown Resorts said that the company will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation and will do whatever it can in relation to its overhaul plans presented by NSW in response to the ILGA investigation.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years. In the past few years she has written about a number of industries and developed an interest in the UK gambling market.