The Victorian Government has announced the establishment of a royal commission into Crown Resorts, to test the operator’s suitability to hold its Melbourne casino licence.
Former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, QC, will lead the inquiry. The Government had previously established a review into Crown’s suitability, which will occur in parallel with the royal commission.
It comes after an 18-month-long New South Wales inquiry into Crown, in which former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin examined evidence of the operator facilitating money laundering and its links to organised crime. That NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) inquiry found Crown unfit to hold a licence at its new Sydney casino.
“Since receiving [that] report, the Government has taken advice about the most appropriate way to proceed in Victoria,” a statement from the Victorian Government read.
“Establishing a royal commission will ensure the most appropriate access to information regarding Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold the casino licence given the commission’s powers to compel witnesses and documentation.”
Crown acknowledged the decision shortly after, with the operator also announcing the resignation of long-serving director Harold Mitchell from the company’s board.
Helen Coonan, Crown’s executive chairman, commented: “Crown welcomes the announcement from the Victorian Government as it provides an opportunity to detail the reforms and changes to our business to deliver the highest standards of governance and compliance, and an organisational culture that meets community expectations.
“Victorians should be assured we recognise the responsibility placed on us by the community, governments and regulators and we will fully cooperate with the royal commission.”