MELBOURNE, AAP – Crown is not suitable to hold a licence for its Melbourne casino, a royal commission has been told.

Counsel assisting Adrian Finanzio SC on Tuesday said the inquiry into whether Crown can retain its Melbourne licence had revealed illegal conduct motivated by a culture that placed profit above all else.

He said the James Packer-backed group had lost the public’s trust and reforms, if its licence is not ripped up, could take as long as two years.

“Crown Melbourne is not presently suitable to hold the casino licence,” Mr Finanzio told the inquiry in his closing submissions.

“This is not a case of isolated or trifling indiscretions or breaches, capable of easy and quick rectification … no amount of restructuring can restore confidence in it as a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

“The evidence reveals serious misconduct, illegal conduct and highly inappropriate conduct, which has been encouraged or facilitated by a culture which has consistently put profit before all other considerations.”

But he said the call to revoke the licence of Crown Melbourne, which employs about 12,500 people – most of whom worked “honestly and diligently” – was not made lightly given the casino had been “part of the fabric of the city” for many years.

Mr Finanzio also called for the heads of Crown chair Helen Coonan and Crown Melbourne chief Xavier Walsh.

He said while Ms Coonan, a former Howard government minister, should be commended for her “willingness to stay the course”, she was tied up in the “past failings” of Crown.

Ms Coonan became Crown boss in February 2020 after joining as a director in 2011.

She wrote a letter with her lawyers at Arnold Bloch Leibler on July 2 requesting an “urgent meeting” with gaming minister Melissa Horne, stating it is “not in the public interest for Crown to fail”.

Mr Walsh, the inquiry heard previously, knew Crown Melbourne underpaid millions in Victorian gaming taxes for three years but did nothing about it until the day after the royal commission was announced.

“He, along with Ms Coonan, cannot be the credible face of the change required at Crown. Their mutual failings underscore the culture still at play at Crown,” Mr Finanzio said.

The inquiry, overseen by former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein QC, continues with closing submissions from Crown on August 3.

Crown, Mr Finanzio said, has agreed to pay back $50 million in gaming taxes. The royal commission was earlier told the total sum of unpaid taxes could be as high as $272 million.

Commissioner Finkelstein will make his recommendation on Crown’s Melbourne licence by October 15.

“Wherever I look I see not just bad conduct but illegal conduct, improper conduct, unacceptable conduct, and it permeates the whole organisation,” he said previously.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday said while it was clear that what has gone on at Crown Melbourne “shouldn’t have gone on”, he would not comment further on the inquiry.

Mr Andrews has previously stated his willingness to rip up Crown’s Melbourne casino licence if recommended to do so.