Life appears to be returning to some sort of normalcy for Australian casino operator Crown Resorts with the company launching a new rolling chip Premium Player Program at Crown Melbourne and Crown Sydney. The program is not operational at Crown Perth.
IAG has learnt the new program is available to all qualified players – both domestic and international – and is run directly by Crown without the use of junkets or agents.
IAG also understands that only players from certain countries will qualify and that regulators in Victoria and New South Wales have been actively working with Crown on developing the program, no doubt to ensure compliance with regulations following the Finkelstein Royal Commission in Melbourne and the Bergin Inquiry in Sydney.
Crown had previously dropped its international VIP rolling chip programs in the wake of those inquiries, which among other things focused on alleged ties by Crown’s former junket partners to Asian crime syndicates and the 2016 arrests of Crown Resorts staff for the illegal promotion of gambling in mainland China.
Those days are now said to be long gone with a complete re-invention of the company, including a clean sweep of the Board of Directors and senior management, as well as a new owner in The Blackstone Group.
Since the appointment of Ciarán Carruthers as CEO some 12 months ago, Crown has been clear on their intent to only deal with “approved” or “qualified” individuals.
In his very first week on the job in September last year, Carruthers made it clear that working with junkets is a thing of the past. Speaking to Inside Asian Gaming at that time, Carruthers indicated the company would not be utilizing junkets again but did outline plans to welcome back international guests, saying, “We’re not in the junket business if that’s part of the question. That’s not part of the plan going forward.”
“I think as the international markets start opening up again, with the very strict controls we have in terms of KYC and AML, we’ll be able to let qualified international players back in again. That will happen sometime in the future but we’re a long way off from that right now.”
It seems that time has now come.