April 27 (Reuters) – Beleaguered casino operator Crown Resorts said on Tuesday it has been fined A$1 million ($778,600.00) by the Victorian gambling regulator for failing to vet its high-roller junket operations for criminal links.
The fine comes as part of a wider scrutiny of Crown’s engagement with junket operations following accusations of dealing with operators with links to organised crime to bring Chinese high-rollers to its current flagship asset in Melbourne.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) determined on Tuesday that Crown failed to gather and verify necessary information to enable it to make an informed decision concerning the probity of relevant junket entities.
The Commission has prohibited Crown from resuming junket operations at its Melbourne casino until the company improves its procedures to ensure the Melbourne asset “remains free from criminal influence and exploitation”.
“It is the first time that Crown has been fined the maximum fine available to the Commission under the Casino Control Act 1991,” VCGLR Chairman Ross Kennedy said.
Crown, which had permanently ceased all dealings with junket operators last November, said it is working with the Commission to improve compliance.
($1 = 1.2844 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Nikhil Subba and Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)