Crown fined $30 million over “undocumented” bank cheque practice
Crown Casino has been handed a $30 million fine after Victoria’s gambling watchdog investigated undocumented bank cheque practices.
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) issued the fine in April after a Royal Commission found Crown had allowed patrons to gamble by depositing bank cheques made out to themselves, and not to Crown, even before the cheque had cleared.
“This was a serious contravention because it was undocumented, long-running and subverted the important controls on the use of cheques at the casino,” the VGCCC said.
The Casino Control Act 1991 (Vic) prohibits the use of cheques at the casino except in limited circumstances. This prohibition is designed to prevent the use of cheques to extend credit to gamblers or to launder money.
The VGCCC’s chairperson Fran Thorn said Crown’s banking practice could harm patrons and undermine the moral values of the casino.
“Practices like accepting bank cheques expose Crown to the risk of money laundering, put patrons at risk of gambling harm, and compromise our ability to ensure the casino runs with integrity, safety and fairness,” Ms Thorn said.
The VGCCC will issue directions to Crown to ban the bank and blank cheque practices. The Commission also requires a review of Crown’s current procedures on accepting bank cheques, and will investigate undocumented practices at the Melbourne Casino.
Last year, the VGCCC fined the Casino giant $80 million over its China Union Pay process and issued a further $120 million fine for breaches of its responsible service of gambling obligations.
Meanwhile, in May the VGCCC issued a formal direction to Crown to implement a raft of new harm minimisation and anti-money laundering measures, which incorporate key recommendations of the Royal Commission.
By December, Crown is required to implement on all its electronic gaming machines (EGMs):
- Mandatory carded play, meaning that all EGM play at the casino will be linked to a patron’s identity.
- Mandatory pre-commitment using the YourPlay system, which ensures players set time and spend limits prior. While YourPlay will continue on a voluntary basis at other venues, at the Melbourne casino a player will not be able to continue to play beyond pre-set limits. •