Crown Tells Perth Casino Royal Commission It Has Turned a New Leaf

The Perth Casino Royal Commission heard the final submissions this week as the inquiry draws to a close. What was said and why? Find out here.

The long-running Perth Casino Royal Commission into Crown Perth is almost over. It started all the way back on March 5, 2021, and the final submissions heard this week. Those in charge of the Perth Casino Royal Commission are set to publish their findings and judgements on March 4, 2022.

Kanaga Dharmananda SC is Crown Resorts lawyer. He said the company has turned a new leaf after making significant changes to the way the company runs. These changes include but are not limited to an overhauling of its board and executive team. Dharmananda asked the Perth Casino Royal Commission to consider the sweeping changes to the company when it publishes its report.

“Crown has, at great financial cost, embarked on a significant program led by people of goodwill and skill. Commissioner Finklestein accepted that important steps towards reform had been taken and that the program is likely to succeed. He concluded in relation to Crown Melbourne that it has the will and capacity to reform itself. Those assessments, with respect, are also relevant to Crown Perth.

Perth Casino Royal Commission Finds Possible Wrongdoings

The Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) regulates the Perth casino. GWC is a part-time, seven member board that meets monthly. The Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries (DLGSCI) assists the GWC.

The Perth Casino Royal Commission heard GWC opted not to investigate allegations of money laundering. Crown’s former legal boss told the GWC the media made up the allegations.

However, evidence of the state’s former chief casino officer sharing regular expensive fishing trips with Crown employees. This is, without doubt, a serious conflict of interests.

GWC informed the Perth Casino Royal Commission it overhauled several processes. It is a requirement for staff to disclose personal relationships with Crown staff. Furthermore, all gifts, benefits, and hospitality are logged.

Fiona Seaward, a lawyer for the DLGSCI, explained more.

“The department has accepted, and accepts today, that its historical management of conflicts of interest was not of the standard expected of a modern public sector organisation involved in regulation.”

Will Crown Perth Keep its Licence?

The answer would have been a resounding no if you asked the question to this heading several months ago. Everything pointed towards Crown losing its Melbourne and Perth licences. However, the completed royal commission into Crown’s Melbourne affairs allowed Crown to continue operating. It did this despite discovering huge failing and the commissioner stating Crown Melbourne is unfit to hold a gaming licence in Victoria.

The report into Crown Melbourne spanned more than 650 pages. Commissioner Finklestein pulled no punches in his summation.

“When regarding the extent of the misconduct that has occurred over the past ten years, the seriousness of that misconducts and the harm that misconduct caused, to now hold Crown Melbourne to be suitable on the basis that is has begun a serious and earnest reform program would be to undermine a central element of the licensing framework.

“The evidence, when considered and weighed, only admits of one conclusion: Crown Melbourne is not a suitable person to continue to hold its casino licence. In light of this finding, there is no need to also consider whether it is in the public interest for Crown Melbourne to hold its casino licence.”

Expect much of the same from the Perth Casino Royal Commission. Expect the banning of junkets for starters. The commission wrote this in Melbourne’s report.

In addition, Crown Perth should expect a large fine. The Casino Control Act has the power to impose a fine of up to $100 million, although the fine will likely be smaller. Furthermore, we expect to see Crown Perth under close scrutiny from an independent body for the next few years.