The Victoria state’s gambling watchdog issued a fine to the Crown Casino for allowing its customers to cash the cheques made out to themselves. The Crown will have to pay a $30 million fine for allowing gambling harm in their casino and avoiding implementing necessary measures to stop money laundering and criminal infiltration.
Cheques as the main issue:
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) also pointed out that the royal commission noticed using blank cheques at the Southbank casino, which the Crown knew and allowed without conducting any required measures. These cheques had to be controlled in order to avoid any risk connected with money laundering and fraud in the casinos.
The Crown casinos allowed its customers to exchange the problematic cheques for gambling chips, and the casino approved them using these chips before any background checks were conducted.
All of that led to the questioning of the casino license the Crown holds. The company has until the end of the year to adjust its business and prove they’re suitable to hold the license issued to them. If they don’t succeed, the license will be withdrawn.
The irregularities date back to 1994, and they lasted till 2021. During that period, the amount of money that had been cashed out via cheques was about $1.5 billion.
The VGCC commented: “Although these figures are based on the very uncertain estimates that were referred to in Crown Melbourne’s submissions. They provide some (albeit uncertain) sense of the scale of the extent to which the Bank Cheque Practice is likely to have resulted in criminal infiltration by money launderers, the infliction of gambling harm and the provision of what would have otherwise been unauthorized credit.”
The situations such as providing a player who is both addicted to gambling and experienced some kind of financial harm in the past with gambling chips happened in the past, despite the fact that they’re strictly prohibited.
Fran Thorne, the Chair of VGCC, thinks that the practice was meant to be a sort of credit and that it was banned. He said: “The use of cheques can disguise money laundering. “It is also an undocumented practice, and the Casino is required to document all its process practice so that the regulator knows what it does and is able to oversee them.”
The VGCCC wasn’t able to prove their claims, but they ordered the casino to ban them in the future. The Commission also plans to review all of the Crown’s policies and procedures related to accepting cheques and further investigate all of the problematic practices in the Crown Casino.
This isn’t the first time the Crown Casino broke the law. Only last year, it was fined $120 million for breaching the regulations related to responsible gaming, and AUSTRAC, the Australian anti-money laundering authority, will also issue a fine of $1 billion for the same breaches.
The company accepted the fine, and its spokesperson said they implemented some improvements and hope that the new reform will live up to the expectations.