In Australia and the Victorian royal commission looking into the local gambling license suitability of Crown Resorts Limited has reportedly been told that the casino operator’s Chief Executive Officer will be stepping down from later this month.
According to a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Melbourne-headquartered firm declared that Xavier Walsh is to ‘cease his role’ as its boss from August 20 but will ‘remain available to assist the company’ up to the official end of his contract on December 9.
Crown Resorts Limited is the subject of an official royal commission investigation being led by former Federal Court Judge Ray Finkelstein that could result in its Victoria gambling license for the giant Crown Melbourne facility being either suspended or revoked altogether. This probe was launched after the regulator for the neighboring state of New South Wales last year refused the firm’s request to bring casino gaming to its new Crown Sydney development owing to a slew of money laundering allegations tied to its past use of foreign junket firms.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that counsel assisting the three-member royal commission, Adrian Finanzio, proclaimed in July that Crown Resorts Limited was not suitable to hold a gambling license for Victoria and that Walsh and the firm’s Executive Chair, Helen Coonan, were not the appropriate figures to help reform the company. Although this latter figure remains in post, the revelation that the former is to leave came after the company’s lawyer, Michael Borsky, acknowledged that the operator had demonstrated several failures as a business.
Borsky moreover reportedly went on to suggest that an independent supervisor be established to oversee the operations of Crown Resorts Limited in Victoria. This is purportedly thought to be one of the main reasons why the administration of Premier Daniel Andrews announced the coming launch of the new Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, which is to replace the existing Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation in serving as the state’s principal gambling watchdog.
Reportedly read a statement from Borsky…
“Crown Resorts Limited and its senior leaders recognize that as a result of its own failings there has been a substantial and warranted decrease in the public’s confidence and trust in its Melbourne operations. Crown Resorts Limited is suitable to continue to hold the casino license but because its suitability is contingent it accepts, on the reforms being implemented, it is appropriate for an independent monitor or supervisor to be appointed to supervise Crown Resorts Limited.”
The Victoria royal commission, which is being shadowed in the state of Western Australia by an analogous inquiry concerning Crown Resorts Limited’s 1,196-room Crown Perth venue, is not reportedly expected to publish its ultimate findings until October. However, counsel for the Sydney-listed firm has already purportedly put forward a number of contrition options including the payment of unpaid taxes and the implementation of measures that would allow it to continue running whilst simultaneously accounting for its past mistakes.