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Crown fined record $120 million

Crown fined record $120 million
Brendan Rees

Crown Melbourne has been handed two fines totalling $120 million after failing in its responsible service of gambling obligations, including allowing patrons to gamble for more than 24 hours.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) imposed the fines – which was announced on November 7 – with the gambling regulator’s chairperson Fran Thorn saying the disciplinary action sounded a warning to all in the Victorian gambling industry.

The penalty comes after the VGCCC fined Crown $80 million in May over a scheme that saw the funds illegally transferred using China Union Pay debit cards.

Ms Thorn said for “a long time, Crown failed in its legal and moral obligation to ensure it provided its gambling products and services in a manner which minimised potential harm to its patrons, their families, friends and communities”.

“The record fines totalling $120 million that we have imposed on Crown today will send a powerful message to Crown that the Commission will not tolerate misconduct that exposes our community to increased risks of gambling related harm,” she said.

 

These were not isolated breaches. They were part of a pattern of extensive, sustained, and systemic failures by Crown that spanned roughly 12 years.

 

The fines were issued because Crown “consistently” failed to intervene to stop customers from gambling for long periods without a break, sometimes for more than 24 hours.

Crown also failed to comply with a statutory direction by the regulator “to take all reasonable steps” to prevent patrons from using plastic picks and other devices to simulate “automatic play” when gambling on certain electronic gaming machines or pokies.

The gambling giant accepted that disciplinary action should be taken and the need for it to continue working on reforms to address these and other Responsible Service of Gambling obligations.

The Victorian Royal Commission into Crown found the casino guilty of “disgraceful conduct” and recommended it be stripped of its licence if it could not prove it had reformed itself by the end of 2023.

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