Crown Melbourne has been whacked with a record AU$120 million (US$77 million) fine by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) for failures within its Responsible Service of Gambling obligations uncovered during last year’s Royal Commission.
The fine is the second major financial hit Crown Melbourne has suffered since being found unsuitable to hold its casino license, with the VGCCC having already issued a fine of AU$80 million (US$51 million) in May for Crown’s illegal use of China Union Pay cards for gambling transactions.
This latest punishment covers two serious breaches, the VGCCC said, with Crown found to have “breached its code of conduct for the Responsible Service of Gambling over many years by consistently failing to intervene to prevent gambling harm, allowing customers to often gamble 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.
“At the Royal Commission, Crown accepted the Responsible Service of Gambling as both a legal obligation and a condition of its social licence to operate,” said VGCCC Chairperson Fran Thorn.
“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.
“These were not isolated breaches. They were part of a pattern of extensive, sustained and systemic failures by Crown that spanned roughly 12 years.
“We urge all gambling licence holders to read this decision. This disciplinary action also sounds a warning to all in the Victorian gambling industry that we expect them to do everything they can to minimise the harmful impacts of gambling. The Commission will be resolute in pursuing our new requirement to regulate for harm minimisation, and the industry can expect further action from the Commission on this matter.”
Crown Melbourne is currently operating under the supervision of a Special Manager who will submit a final report to the VGCCC in early 2024 to assist the regulator in determining whether Crown has returned to suitability to hold the Melbourne casino licence.