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Crown Melbourne has been under intense scrutiny for the past two years, leading to the appointment of a special manager with unprecedented powers to oversee the casino’s operations. The aim was to address the failures uncovered by a royal commission and ensure that appropriate punishment could be imposed for any wrongdoing. The new regulator, VGCCC, was solely focused on the gambling industry and was given enhanced powers, including the ability to impose penalties of up to $100 million on Crown.

In response to the findings of the royal commission, the commission took various disciplinary actions against Crown, resulting in fines totaling $250 million. Additionally, directions were issued to Crown to implement harm minimisation initiatives and improve their practices related to money laundering and financial crimes. A “Plan B project” was also initiated to prepare for the potential loss of Crown’s license to operate, ensuring a smooth transition should such a scenario occur.

Legislative amendments were made to the Casino Control Act to enhance the statutory manager regime, requiring Crown to continue providing shared services under manager control in case of administration or liquidation. These measures were put in place to ensure that Crown would never be considered “too big to fail” and could be held accountable for its obligations. The commission aimed to demonstrate that Crown had addressed the systemic failures identified by the royal commission and was capable of upholding the standards expected of a casino operator.

The commission’s determination was based on three key considerations: the findings of the special manager, their own investigations into Crown’s suitability, and Crown’s recognition of the need for a comprehensive transformation plan. While the royal commission called for a full transformation of Crown Melbourne, the commission acknowledged the progress made towards becoming a world-class example of casino services. However, Crown’s recognition that its transformation is still ongoing signifies a new approach to fulfilling its obligations as a casino licensee.

The commission emphasized the importance of maintaining honesty and integrity in running the Crown Melbourne casino, free from criminal influence and exploitation. As a privilege granted by the government, Crown must prioritize the safety and well-being of its patrons and staff over profit. The commission assured the community that it would not hesitate to take action if the privilege of holding the casino license is misused again. Fran Thorn, chair of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, emphasized the commitment to upholding high standards in the regulation of the gambling industry.

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