Crown Helped High Rollers Move $160M From China

Crown helped move $160 million of high rollers money from China to its Melbourne casino

The Royal Commission into Crown Resorts’ affairs has turned up yet more negativity. There is not a day that goes by that Crown’s name is not dragged through the mud. Illegally moving $160 million of high rollers money from China is the latest black mark against the casino giant.

A Crown employee told the Victorian royal commission how she processed payments for high rollers to avoid scrutiny. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) gets involved in any transactions of $10,000 or more. The Crown employee revealed she processed large payments in separate increments to avoid detection.

Those startling revelations came shortly after revelations that Crown helped move $160 million of high rollers money from China over four years. The way Crown went about this is both illegal and in breach of the Casino Control Act.

Crown processed more than $160 million via foreign debit and credit cards of international guests at Crown Melbourne. High rollers made debit and credit card payments to Melbourne’s Crown Towers Hotel. Those funds were made available for gamblers at the Melbourne casino.

The casino knew the process was illegal, but that did not stop them. Crown’s head of regulation and compliance, Michelle Fielding, developed legal arguments in case regulators caught them.

High Rollers Allowed Free Reign at Crown Melbourne

Crown’s head of security and surveillance, Craig Walsh, recently gave evidence to the royal commission. Walsh’s evidence was eye-opening, to say the least.

The company defended its relationship with junkets despite warnings its high rollers has links with triads. Australian Federal Police (AFP) told the casino the junkets it used were laundering drug money for organised crime families.

Hong Kong triad 14K is thought to back Suncity, one of the more prominent junkets Crown used. Crown heard about the links to triad activity in 2015 or 2016 yet continued using them to bring in well-heeled high rollers to its casino.

An AFP commander informed Walsh they were going after junket. Walsh reported this to Crown’s board of directors, but they took no action. News about links to triads made it into the national press, resulting in Crown claiming reporters were part of a “deceitful campaign” and going as far as claiming Crown had “a robust process for vetting junket operators.”

Crown has, of course, ceased the use of junkets in an attempt to please gaming regulators.

Walsh also revealed none of his 600 security and surveillance staff had access to the Chinese high rollers’ private gaming areas. “They didn’t want security in there,” Walsh said.

Walsh claims the high roller salons were the last area to see facial recognition technology installed. Crown rolled out the tech between 2017 and 2019, but it could have happened ten years earlier, but the Crown management did not want to invest any money. Draw your own conclusions as to why.

Crown Provides Update on Operating Conditions

Crown updated the Australian Stock Exchange with information regarding COVID-19 restrictions.

Its Perth property ceased all gaming activity for three days from noon June 27. The hotel, food, beverage, and banqueting facilities continue operating in accordance with Western Australian Government advice.

Crown Sydney closes for a period of at least seven days from midnight June 25. The Sydney property’s casino has never opened, and its food and beverage facilities remain closed until July 9. The hotel at Crown Sydney is operating at a reduced capacity.

There was some positive news, however. The Victorian Government eased restrictions from June 25. Crown Melbourne’s gaming operations have resumed, although with several rules in place.

  • A limit of 300 guests per indoor space, with a density of one person per four square metres
  • Electronic gaming machines are spaced 1.5 metres apart
  • Table games operating at 1.5 metres apart with seated service only