Senators call for inquiry into Crown allegations

Crown Resorts
Crown Resorts

Several Australian senators have called for an independent inquiry into allegations that Crown Resorts was promoting illegal gambling promotion operations in China, that it was facilitating visas for VIPs and had close links to organised crime.

The allegations, which have been denied by Crown, were aired by over the weekend by media outlets, The Age, 60 Minutes and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie, a prominent anti-gambling crusader, has called for a parliamentary inquiry. His called was backed by independent senator Jacqui Lambie.

“I would hope the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader would see the sense in a parliamentary response,” Wilkie was cited as saying by The Age. “This is a lot more now than allegations about one little casino. It’s multi-jurisdictional, it’s multi-agency, it’s international.

“This is very much something that the Australian government and the Australian Parliament should have an interest in.”

Shares in the Australian operator dropped more than 3 percent on Monday in the wake of the allegations.

In 2016, China jailed 19 Crown employees in China, accusing them of illegally promoting gambling on the Mainland. The investigative report by the three news outlets cited whistle blower Jenny Jiang, who was one of the arrested employees.

Jiang said that sales staff were instructed to offer luxury gifts, free gambling cash, known as “lucky money” and free use of private jets and hotel suites to lure Chinese gamblers to its properties in Australia, all of which is usual practice in the VIP segment.

The biggest whales were also offered help securing immigration to Australia, along with schooling for their children and property investment in Melbourne and Sydney. 

However, the operator has since sent a statement denying the accusations, stating that it takes ‘legal and regulatory responsibilities very seriously’ and that it has a ‘comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Program’.