Crown Resorts Waits For Verdict On Melbourne Casino License
Crown Resorts Ltd. is now waiting to hear from the gambling regulator in Victoria to see if it will be stripped of its Crown Melbourne casino license or if it will be allowed to operate its controversial casino.
The Finkelstein Inquiry, led by former judge Ray Finkelstein submitted their findings to the Royal Commission on Oct 15, after eight weeks of public hearings. The public inquiry unearthed plenty of gambling breaches that included money laundering and lack of responsible gambling measures.
Crown Melbourne Could Lose License
The Royal Commission has already heard evidence of money laundering activities within the casino. If they find all the evidence to be true based on the findings of the inquiry, Crown may lose its license to operate in Victoria.
This would prevent Crown from operating their signature Melbourne casino anymore, which could lead to the company losing approximately three-quarters of its profits. Crown Melbourne is temporarily closed for now due to the COVID-19 situation in the state but a permanent closure could be devastating for the Australian casino operator.
If Crown Melbourne ends up losing its casino license, the gambling regulator could allow Crown Melbourne to continue to operate its non-gaming operations. Crown Melbourne is currently one of Victoria’s top employers, with approximately 11,500 staff members. Closing it down would mean thousands of Australians losing their jobs, as well as losing much-needed tourism revenue once the country reopens in November 2021.
The government of Victoria will take a couple of weeks to review all of the findings and then make the document open to the public before the end of October 2021.
Crown Resorts Continues To Struggle
Crown Resorts has already lost its casino license in New South Wales (NSW) and is not allowed to operate its A$2.2 billion Barangaroo casino resort. Only non-gaming activities are currently permitted. Crown lost its Barangaroo casino license for multiple violations. Crown Perth is also under investigation for similar shortcomings and as the investigation unfolds, things keep getting worse for Crown.
There were talks earlier this year that Crown Resorts could solve its problems through an acquisition. Rival Star Entertainment put in a bid and appeared to be the front runner to acquire Crown as Star had a clean reputation in the Australian gaming market.
However, Star is now also mired in their own money laundering scandal and has withdrawn their acquisition offer. If Crown were to lose its Crown Melbourne casino license, the operator could struggle to get another good acquisition offer going forward!