Australian Gaming minister demands investigation

Being one of the most popular pastimes in the world, and most definitely one of the most, if not the most popular one in Australia and New Zealand, it is of little surprise to learn that gambling also attracts some of the more unwanted kind. It’s already common news that casinos have little to no power in accepting players that have hard cash on them, and even less if we’re talking about background checks or even verify the provenience of the money they are accepting as debts. That being said, the casinos, and mainly Crown casinos, one of the bigger ones, have attracted a lot of bad press over the years for allowing suspicious activity inside their casinos, although this is increasingly difficult to do without a complete banking and business history, and that’s difficult to manage with the new GDPR rules.

One of the most prominent former Victorian gaming ministers has requested the state’s regulator investigate direct allegations issued repeatedly against Melbournes’ Crown Casinos. The indictment includes grave accusations of links to organized crime overseas, including the US and China.

The former minister of gaming whose name resembles the greatest motivational speaker of all time, Tony Robinson, declared publicly that the casino had the potential to do serious harm to the state’s reputation, and that the Victorian Commission for and Liquor and Gambling Regulation must take notice and closely supervise their business.

“The regulator has for too long not applied the powers it has to scrutinize Crown adequately and it’s, therefore, no surprise to see these sorts of stories emerging,” he said.

“Regulatory failure in this instance gives rise to criminal enterprise and serious harm to the state.”

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The company owning Crown casinos was warned, earlier this year, that Chinese authorities were investigating and cracking down on illegal gambling activities and promotion, and the company’s staff were quickly warned and made aware to avoid any form of communication in order minimize the possibilities in which they are detected and recognized as being part of the group. A year later, no less than 19 staff members were arrested and face indictment from the authorities.

In other news, the independent MP and long-time opponent and adversarial critic of Crown, Andrew Wilkie, backed by independent senator Jacqui Lambie, requested and formally called for an investigation into Nine’s claims. The request is to be answered, along with the investigation to be conducted by one of federal parliament’s joint committees.

As a direct result of the investigation and fuss created in the media, Crown shares fell a worrying 3.24%, or 41c, on Monday to close at $12.26.

Catherine Myers, the VCGLR’s chief executive, Catherine Myers, said the authority was continuing an already in-progress investigation into Crown’s activities in and concerning China, that has already been active and running for years. It was not mentioned, however, whether it would look into fresh allegations or examine old ones, in light of new evidence.

Liquor & Gaming NSW, NSW’s gambling regulator, said it would “work with other Australian casino regulators to understand if any action should be taken in light of the allegations raised against Crown”.

Nine’s newspapers have reported over the past few days and on its TV show, 60 Minutes, tens of thousands of leaked internal Crown documents, allegedly, showing clear proof that the casino has close ties to organized crime and not only had knowledge about the problem, but it even invited criminal activity in its casinos.

Nine strongly accused Crown, which runs casinos not only in Melbourne, but in Perth also, and is currently in talks to start building a huge high-roller gambling pit at Barangaroo in Sydney, of putting Chinese staff at risk and in the ‘’fire zone’’. It is also claimed that a close relative of China’s president, Xi Jinping, was found on a company jet raided by the federal police back in 2016. The search was conducted based on money laundering suspicions.

In addition, the former Australian Border Force head Roman Quaedvlieg told 60 Minutes two government ministers complained to him that Crown’s VIP jets “weren’t receiving a facilitated service for private jets coming into Australia” and “were seeking some arrangements which smoothed out the processes there a little”.