CasinosJungle > News > Australia’s Crown Casino Agrees A$450 Million Fine

Australia’s Crown Casino Agrees A$450 Million Fine

Penny May 31, 2023

Casino gaming in Australia has had a turbulent couple of years. The Aussie Millions poker tournament was one of the first casualties of the post-pandemic gaming world. On top of that, one of the country’s most famous names in the casino industry came under increasing scrutiny. 2021 and 2022 saw Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth face accusations of allowing money laundering and being connected to organized crime through illicit activity taking place at its venues. That led to a restriction on the company’s operations. Now, though, the troubled operator looks to have taken a giant leap to get out of the trouble it finds itself. With this move, 2023 could be the year that the casino giant returns to normal operation.

Crown Casino facade

Management at Crown Resorts has agreed to pay a near-record fine to distance itself from prior legal issues. It has decided on the A$450 million fine with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre. It is hoped that this will be enough for the authorities in the country to approve the casino’s return to operation under a full license. While this will need to be approved by the federal court of justice, the hierarchy of the disgraced company has been keen to stress that it should no longer be associated with the rule breaches committed historically. The chief executive of the troubled casinos reinforced that stance when saying, “The company that committed these unacceptable, historic breaches is far removed from the company that exists today.”


A History of Legal Breaches for Crown

Those in charge of the Crown venues will want to remain confident that the steps taken to rectify previous failings will appease the authorities in Australia. However, there may still be some concern hanging over the company. Obviously, the events that led to this situation specifically will be at the forefront of thinking. In 2022, the Melbourne venue was fined for allowing Chinese nationals to illegally use their bank cards in exchange for gambling chips and tokens, despite the transactions being classified as for other services. These fines were worth A$80 million and led to greater oversight of the operator and modifications to its licenses. Despite being allowed to stay open for business, the licensing authorities were keen to keep an eye on the company. From 2021, the license was allowed to remain in place; however, it would need to be reviewed at the end of a two-year grace period. At this point, all offending behavior would have to be rectified to the satisfaction of the authorities.


However, this isn’t the only time that the casino has found itself at the center of controversy. The most-recent connections with organized crime may be the headline grabbers but they were just a small part of a larger problem. In 2022, the Crown Melbourne received another fine – this time A$120 million – for breaching player protection regulations. It was reported that the casino was allowing some players to gamble for 24 hours at a time. Because of this, new restrictions were placed on the venue to help protect those playing there. Gamblers would have to declare the maximum amount of money they would be happy to lose, to start, and there would be a A$1,000 maximum transaction. All of this served to undermine the casino’s position in the Australian industry and cast doubt over its future.


Big Steps to Take Before Case can be Closed

There is still a lot of deliberating to be done before there is a resolution to this ongoing controversy. The company will have to wait until July 10 – 11 before discovering their fate. That is when the federal court will sit to hear the case presented and pass its judgment. The management will believe that they have done enough to address the company’s historic failings. In February of 2022, the company was purchased by US equity fund Blackstone. This was approved by the Federal Court of Australia, so should prove to be enough for those making the decisions. It would be a landmark decision if legislators were to not approve of the company given that they had given the okay to the takeover 12 months prior.


Currently, the casinos exist in something of a limbo state. While the doors are open and the company can operate, there are restrictions on how they can conduct business. In the meantime, more players are seeking out Australia casinos online. And even more concerning is that the threat of fines and potential closure is consistently hanging over the head of the venues. Hopefully, this move signals the end of that uncertainty.

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