Victorian regulator targets Crown Melbourne over chips for cheques practice

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Crown Resorts is facing disciplinary action in Victoria again, almost a year after being deemed “unsuitable” to operate its Melbourne casino.
Crown Melbourne has been charged with “bank and blank cheques practices” by Victoria’s Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC).
The regulator said Crown violated section 68 of the Casino Control Act, which prohibits licensed entities from extending credit to patrons in connection with gambling, based on the findings of last year’s Royal Commission.

Customers were specifically permitted to exchange a blank cheque made payable to Crown for chips used to gamble at the Melbourne casino.

“The Casino Control Act limits Crown’s financial interactions with its customers,” said Fran Thorn, Chair of the VGCCC.

“These restrictions are critical because they keep patrons from gambling beyond their means while also protecting the Melbourne casino from criminal influence and exploitation.”

This follows a Royal Commission in 2021 finding Crown Melbourne “unsuitable” for a licence and appointing a “Special Manager” to oversee its operations for two years.

Following the expiration of this period, the VGCCC will decide whether Crown is qualified to “regain the privilege of holding the Melbourne casino licence unsupervised.”

“The Royal Commission found that Crown adopted practices involving the use of blank cheques and bank cheques that violated these important restrictions,” Thorn continued.

As a result, Crown has been served with a notice and is now required to provide information relevant to the VGCCC’s “consideration of any disciplinary action.”

A fine of up to AU$100 million (US$68 million), “changing the casino licence,” or issuing a letter of censure to Crown and ordering it to take certain steps are all possible actions.

This is the third disciplinary process initiated by Crown Melbourne in response to the Royal Commission’s findings.