Crown Resorts is facing a second regulatory probe in Victoria over its problem gambling practices and may face a fine of as much as $100 million ($69 million).
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) said that Crown’s inadequate procedures when it came to responsible gaming had put thousands of vulnerable people at risk.
“Crown’s responsible gambling obligations are a condition of the casino license, designed to protect vulnerable patrons and to prevent gambling related harm to patrons, their families and the community. There is no more important obligation,” VGCCC chair Fran Thorn said on Monday.
The regulator said its decision to reopen an inquiry into Crown followed revelations from a recent Royal Commission probe into the company’s operations. That investigation found that Crown was unsuitable to hold a license for its flagship Melbourne property.
“We heard many distressing stories at the Royal Commission of vulnerable patrons being encouraged to gamble beyond their means.
“The VGCCC will therefore be unflinching in its resolve to deal with the issues uncovered at the Royal Commission regarding Crown’s approach to responsible gambling, and to ensure the casino operator acts in line with its legal obligations and the community’s expectations.”
The regulator will soon make another announcement once it has considered Crown’s response to a request for further information about its Responsible Service of Gambling obligations.
“The VGCCC is considering further potential disciplinary proceedings arising from other matters highlighted by the Royal Commission,” the VGCCC said.
Crown Resorts in May revealed it had been fined A$80 million ($54.4 million) for the illegal use of China UnionPay cards and warned it may be facing further punitive damages.
The VGCCC said Crown had abused its privileged position to operate the Crown Melbourne casino over a period of five years. It said the fine must deter Crown Melbourne and any other future casino licensees from abusing the privilege that is the casino license in the future.
The VGCCC has indicated it continues to consider “further disciplinary proceedings against Crown related to the other findings of the Royal Commission, which may each attract a fine of up to $100 million, ” the company said in a statement responding to the fine.