Another Crown Melbourne casino director resigns as it faces royal commission
Australia-based Crown Resorts is now coming face to face with a new regulatory inquiry about its Crown Melbourne operations. This comes shortly after it lost another member from its board of directors.
Yesterday, the casino operator stated that Victoria’s state government had initiated a new royal commission that will be deciding if the operator is suitable to acquire a gaming licence for the Crown Melbourne casino. Queen’s Counsel Raymond Finkelstein has been revealed to be leading the case, and the results are set to come out by August of 2021.
The Melbourne casino also made up a large part of the regulatory issues that were highlighted in the Bergin report, which is the résumé of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA)’s study of the regulatory deficiencies at Crown’s casinos in Melbourne and Perth.
That exact report came to the conclusion that Crown was not fit to operate a casino at its most recent Crown Sydney venue, which was opened in December without a casino. After news of this report’s findings broke out, many members of the company’s board of directors started resigning, including CEO Ken Barton. The latest person to leave was Harold Mitchell on Monday.
Melissa Horne, the gaming minister in Victoria, stated on Monday that the Bergin report’s discoveries “were so severe” that a royal commission was “the most appropriate action to protect Victorian interests.” Horne further claimed that the state “will not tolerate illegal behavior in our gaming industry” and would “take any necessary action” based on the commission’s discoveries.
Crown chair Helen Coonan said that the company “welcomes” Victoria’s announcement and will be entirely cooperative with the commission. She also said that the investigation will offer “an opportunity to detail the reforms and changes to our business to deliver the highest standards of governance and compliance.”
Victoria had already declared that it will accelerate its review of the casino’s licence, however, the Bergin report also was able to convince the Western Australia state government to open its own investigation and look into whether or not Crown Perth is fit to go forth with operations.
Moreover, the operator’s investors were reportedly expectant of this issue, since its share price closed Monday’s trading down less than 1% to AU$10.20. There was quite a great advancement there as the week before the report was released, the share price was at $9.35 and at $6.12 when the casinos were forced to shut down back in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.