PERTH, AAP – Crown has been found unsuitable to run a casino in Western Australia but will be given two years to clean up its act under independent monitoring.
The finding is contained in the final report by a royal commission into the Perth casino, released by the state government on Thursday.
The three commissioners – former Supreme Court justices Neville Owen and Lindy Jenkins, and former WA auditor-general Colin Murphy – found Crown Resorts and its subsidiaries facilitated money laundering at the casino.
They found Crown had failed to implement systems to detect suspicious transactions and permitted junkets with criminal links to operate at the casino.
Crown also failed to minimise gambling-related harm, the commissioners said, and was not open and accountable in its communications with the state regulator.
The report, containing 59 recommendations, also found there had been “numerous deficiencies” in the oversight of the casino by WA’s Gaming and Wagering Commission and Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
Crown and its subsidiaries will undergo remediation supervised by an independent monitor, with the process expected to take about two years.
It follows similar findings in NSW and Victoria.
WA Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti said the government had accepted the key recommendations and would overhaul the state’s casino laws.
“It is clear that over decades, standards have eroded, integrity has been lost and the transparency of Western Australia’s casino operator has diminished,” Mr Buti told reporters.
“In many cases, Crown has demonstrated poor corporate citizenship.
“It is a privilege to hold a gambling licence in Western Australia and the royal commission has shown that Crown has, at times, abused that privilege. Crown needs to do better but the state’s regulator also needs to do better.”
Mr Buti defended the decision not to revoke Crown’s licence, saying the government would not jeopardise the employment of about 5000 staff at the Burswood complex.
Crown chief executive Steve McCann said the company would work with the state government to implement the recommendations.
He said Crown had undergone significant transformation.
“This includes investment in people, systems, processes, culture and a sharp focus on responsible gaming and the prevention of financial crime,” he said in a statement.
“Crown remains committed to continuous improvement across all facets of the business and is prioritising the delivery of safe and responsible gaming across all of our resorts, including Crown Perth.”
Mr Buti said WA had no intention of ending its ban on poker machines but indicated other electronic gaming machines would still be allowed at the Perth casino.
The royal commission has recommended the maximum bet for the machines be reduced to $10.
Patrons would be required to pre-set weekly loss limits and would be required to take a minimum 15-minute break after three hours of continuous gambling.
Federal MP Andrew Wilkie questioned what it would take for Crown to lose its licence, saying the company had escaped with a slap on the wrist.
“I find it impossible to believe this cowboy casino outfit is suddenly going to embark on a path of righteousness, no matter how much oversight is provided,” he said.