Despite a royal commission condemning Crown Resorts for being “illegal, dishonest, immoral, and exploitative,” the firm has managed to keep its casino license in Melbourne.
Following a “litany of errors” by Crown, including the fact that it “facilitated money laundering,” Commissioner Ray Finkelstein recommended that a special manager be appointed to oversee the casino’s management for two years. He also emphasized ‘a deliberate lack of cooperation and candour on the part of Crown Melbourne and its senior executives.’
Mr. Finkelstein said: “Many senior executives involved in the misconduct were indifferent to their ethical, moral and sometimes legal obligations” and lawyers who knew Crown wanted to engage in conduct that contravened some laws “failed to counsel Crown Melbourne not to go ahead.”
“There is real risk of significant harm to the Victorian economy and to innocent third parties if Crown Melbourne’s licence were immediately canceled,” he added. “Crown Melbourne has the will and the capacity to reform itself so that it again becomes a suitable person to hold a casino license and can remove the stain on its reputation.”
“The Special Manager should be appointed to oversee and control its affairs for a period of two years. At the end of that period, the regulator should determine whether it is clearly satisfied that Crown Melbourne has become a suitable person to hold its casino licence and that it is in the public interest for it to do so. If in two years, the regulator decides that Crown Melbourne is a suitable person to continue to hold its casino license, it is likely that Crown Resorts will be a suitable associate of Crown Melbourne.”
Crown stated: “Crown is currently reviewing the Report and the Victorian Government’s response. Crown will work cooperatively and constructively with the Victorian Government in relation to the findings and recommendations of the Report and their response.”
The Commissioner also wants James Packer’s investment firm, Consolidated Press Holdings, to reduce its 37 percent stake in the company to less than 5% within three years, claiming that it “abused its position as a dominant shareholder, including retaining significant control over the company’s affairs, even after he resigned as chairman in 2018.” Despite the fact that Crown stopped organizing junkets in May, Mr. Finkelstein believes they should be outlawed indefinitely.
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