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Australia Crown shows why casino regulation should go national, experts argue after Bergin report

06:27  11 february  2021
06:27  11 february  2021 Source:   msn.com

Australia regulator report on Crown Resorts to be published Tuesday

  Australia regulator report on Crown Resorts to be published Tuesday Australia regulator report on Crown Resorts to be published TuesdayThe report by retired judge Patricia Bergin will say whether the company 35.9% owned by billionaire James Packer is suitable to hold a gambling licence, what should be done if it isn't, and whether the casino regulatory system is effective, the New South Wales state Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) said.

A blistering report into Crown casino has recommended taking gambling regulation away from beleaguered state and territory watchdogs. Key points: A scathing report into Crown casino also questions the efficacy of state-based regulation . One former state gaming minister says the current Incredibly, the Bergin Report means Crown Resorts cannot currently operate a casino in New South Wales — a state where it does not currently operate gaming because it was waiting on the inquiry to get the green light. But that negative assessment was based on corporate governance lapses, facilitating

Crown Resorts Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Ken Barton faces mounting pressure from the gaming regulator to quit after a scathing report found the Australian casino operator facilitated money laundering and isn’t fit to hold a license in Sydney. A damming inquiry for the gaming watchdog in The 751-page report by former judge Patricia Bergin recommended a management and corporate restructure before Crown could open its A.2 billion (.7 billion) Sydney casino , including possible ownership caps on shareholders such as Packer. Crown shares continued their decline, falling as

A blistering report into Crown casino has recommended taking gambling regulation away from beleaguered state and territory watchdogs.

Experts back the change, which would align casinos with online gambling as a responsibility of the Federal Government and could help in the fight against money laundering and criminal interference.

"The state-based era is over," former Victorian minister for gaming Tony Robinson told The Business.

"It's shown up its limitations. They're always playing catch-up."

Incredibly, the Bergin Report means Crown Resorts cannot currently operate a casino in New South Wales — a state where it does not currently operate gaming because it was waiting on the inquiry to get the green light.

Gambling card a ‘powerful mechanism' to stop organised crime: Bergin

  Gambling card a ‘powerful mechanism' to stop organised crime: Bergin The Bergin report into Crown Resorts says a proposed NSW government-issued gambling card would combat organised crime.Commissioner Patricia Bergin's scathing report into the suitability of the gambling giant to hold a licence for its new Sydney casino in Barangaroo found evidence of money laundering at Crown's Melbourne and Perth casinos.

Crown Resorts gaming licence should be revoked, probe recommends. A probe into Crown has dealt a crushing blow to its .2bn Barangaroo project after damning allegations of bad corporate behaviour. Commissioner Patricia Bergin said in her findings there was “significant deficiency” in Crown ’s corporate character and a lack of understanding and compliance of the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws (AML/CTF). “Every single Crown director should have been versed in an understanding at the very least of: the methods by which money launderers can

CROWN DEEMED UNSUITABLE TO RUN SYDNEY CASINO * July 8, 2014 Crown is granted a 99-year licence to operate a new casino for high-rollers at Sydney's Barangaroo precinct. Following checks by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, the company will pay a 0 million licence fee to the NSW government and must not allow involvement by controversial gambling kingpin Stanley Ho. The liquor and gaming authority withholds regulatory approval for Crown to open the casino at Barangaroo until Ms Bergin finishes her report .

But that negative assessment was based on corporate governance lapses, facilitating money laundering and associating with criminal gangs, that occurred in Crown's operations in Victoria and Western Australia.

Those casinos remain open with no changes to how they operate, but with regulators slowly following up detailed revelations in a 60 Minutes expose from mid-2019.

"What the report shows up more than anything else, I think, is that the way in which the different states have been regulating casinos is not fit for purpose any longer," Mr Robinson added.

"These are systems that were designed from the '70s and '80s and '90s."

The man who became gaming minister after Mr Robinson lost his seat agrees.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told a press conference his Government was considering its response to the inquiry's report.

Crown faces fight to keep casino licence

  Crown faces fight to keep casino licence The NSW gambling regulator is considering its next steps after a report found Crown Resorts enabled money laundering and is not suitable to run a casino. Crown facilitated money laundering through subsidiaries' bank accounts then failed to act when it was drawn to their attention in public media reporting, the report found.Commissioner Patricia Bergin, a former judge of the NSW Supreme Court, told the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority that alone rendered Crown unfit to hold the licence for its $2.2 billion casino in Sydney's Barangaroo.

In her report , Bergin criticised Packer’s influence over Crown ’s operations and said that based on evidence to her inquiry it was a fact that there had been money laundering at the company’s casinos and criminal involvement in junkets that brought in high-rolling gamblers. Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, said that after the resignation of the two directors, Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston, and the end of a consultancy deal with a third, John Poynton, the company would “have no involvement on the Crown board”.

The report by independent Commissioner Patricia Bergin has accused Crown of laundering money through subsidiaries' bank accounts at its Perth and Melbourne operations. Crown is WA's largest single-site private employer, engaging 8500 staff across its Perth operations. The report also found that Crown partnered with junket operators who have links to organised crime groups even after being made aware of these connections, and that the company exposed its staff to the risk of detention in China.

"Casino regulation may need its own bespoke authority, and I think that's something that the report yesterday went to, it's something we've been giving some thought to for a while now," he said.

"Because obviously the issues at a big, unique, single-site venue might be, in fact are, very different to a liquor licence in the suburbs, or a liquor licence or a gaming licence at a pokies venue in regional Victoria."

Criminals 'have the advantage'

The Report of the Inquiry under section 143 of the Casino Control Act 1992, better known by the name of its commissioner, former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, examined the suitability of Crown to operate a casino licence in New South Wales.

Its headline finding was that Crown is currently "not suitable" to hold a licence, despite having already built a $2.2 billion complex in Sydney's new Barangaroo precinct.

In a chapter titled The Independent Regulator, the commissioner went further, taking aim at lapses of state-based regulators.

Australia's Crown Resorts needs changes to 'save itself', regulator says

  Australia's Crown Resorts needs changes to 'save itself', regulator says Australia's Crown Resorts needs changes to 'save itself', regulator says"They've got a lot of work to do to satisfy us. ... We'll have a dialogue with Crown to see what they can do. I hope that they cooperate," Philip Crawford, chair of New South Wales (NSW) state casino regulator, told reporters.

Commissioner Patricia Bergin recommended several changes that Crown would have to make before it could run the casino in its 2.2 billion Australian dollar (.7 billion) Sydney tower. Crown , which owns Australian casinos in Melbourne and Perth, was granted a 99-year license to operate the Sydney high-roller casino in 2014. But news media reported in 2019 allegations including that Crown engaged in money laundering, breached gambling laws and partnered with junket operators linked to organized crime.

It's going to be baby steps. NV and NJ have legislation to address the first wave after the federal government sets out the initial regulation rules. Several Tribal enterprises are also working on internet gaming using Geo-Fencing to allow tablet gaming while on sovereign governed land. * A casino operator's primary gaming equipment used to conduct Internet or mobile gaming shall be located, with the prior approval of the Division, in a restricted area on the premises of the casino hotel within the territorial limits of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Why is on-line gaming not legal?

"There is no unified model for casino regulation across the nation," the report read.

"It is appropriate to observe that whilst ever these differences exist with the consequence of fragmentation, the organised criminals and the money launderers have the advantage."

It goes on to ask New South Wales' Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to advocate, either with other state and territory watchdogs "or alone if necessary", for a unified model to regulate casinos.

Money laundering is the process where the proceeds of crime are 'washed' through cash-intensive businesses, so that they appear to be legitimate funds.

Commissioner Bergin found Crown "facilitated" money laundering, blaming many of the problems on "poor corporate governance, deficient risk management structures and processes and a poor corporate culture".

New regulator is 'critical'

Margaret Quixley, campaign director of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said the key issue is simple: money.

"What we need is a commission that's able to manage the conflict of interest that exists between states and the industries that they regulate," she said.

WA to review Crown laundering allegation

  WA to review Crown laundering allegation Western Australia's state solicitor has been asked to urgently review a report which accused Crown Resorts of facilitating money laundering at its casinos. © Michael Dodge/AAP PHOTOS Crown is WA's largest single-site private employer, engaging 8500 staff across its Perth operations. The report by independent Commissioner Patricia Bergin has accused Crown of laundering money through subsidiaries' bank accounts at its Perth and Melbourne operations.

That conflict is states and territory governments overseeing gambling businesses that also prop up their budgets.

More than 14 per cent of the income of the Northern Territory Government comes from gambling businesses. In the most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, gambling taxes and fees are still more than 7 per cent of revenue.

"States are in the best position right now to regulate the casinos and the gambling industry, but what we've seen is that they've systemically failed," Ms Quixley said.

"It's critical that we have an independent regulator at arm's length from the government of the day, that is transparent and accountable and it has the resources to hold that industry to account.

"Ultimately, if states aren't up to that job then it's the role of the Federal Government."

Given the size of casino operations such as Crown, a national body could share information with other agencies such as AUSTRAC and the Federal Police, potentially reducing the "fragmentation" Commissioner Bergin noted in her report as opening the door for money laundering.

One of Australia's foremost gambling researchers, Monash University associate professor Dr Charles Livingstone, said a new regulator is urgently needed.

"If it's not up to the state regulator, which has a responsibility to do it, then who is going to do it?," he asked.

“Corporate failures”: Where to now for James Packer and Crown’s other casinos?

  “Corporate failures”: Where to now for James Packer and Crown’s other casinos? After months of hearings, the Bergin inquiry report into the probity of Crown Sydney Gaming has been tabled in the NSW parliament. © Provided by Smart Company Crown James Packer Crown Resorts runs the Crown casinos in Melbourne and Perth. The inquiry found that Crown Sydney Gaming was “not a suitable person” to operate the Sydney casino. It also found the parent, Crown Resorts Limited, was “not suitable to be a close associate of the licensee”.

"Crown is not too big to regulate, we just need to work out how to do that, and a standing commission with the powers of a royal commission is probably the way to go."

Renewed focus on money laundering

Former AUSTRAC legislative counsel Andrew Fernbach spent a decade formulating rules to prevent money-laundering. He said it was astonishing that it took a regulator in a state where Crown does not yet operate to deliver a damming report into its casino operations.

"The referral of state powers for casino regulation to the Federal Government would have the benefit of addressing the existing conflict of interest states such as Victoria face between maximising tax revenue from gambling and enforcing the regulations against the criminal infiltration of casinos via money laundering," he said.

"This conflict of interest is only exacerbated by pressure on state finances following pandemic relief funding packages."

For Tony Robinson, who once oversaw the regulation of Crown, there is a bigger picture: the fight against criminal influence and money laundering through gambling.

"It would be a mistake if, in the aftermath of this report, state and federal governments only deliberated upon what was an efficient and effective way to regulate casinos," he said.

"You've got to go back a step and say how do we combat the scourge of money laundering.

"It's no point tightening up what's happening in casinos if you leave other opportunities to gamble that can be exploited by criminals, untouched."

Demetriou latest to resign from Crown .
Chief executive Ken Barton and director Andrew Demetriou are the latest casualties of a scathing review of casino giant Crown Resorts.Chief executive Ken Barton looked set to become the third director to head for the exit on Thursday, with reports he agreed to step down after meeting with the company's chair Helen Coonan.

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