Nation-Leading Laws Passed To Hold Crown To Account

VIC Premier

The Andrews Labor Government is continuing to combat gambling related harm and prevent money laundering at Crown Melbourne, with new legislation passed today to boost protection for consumers and increase oversight of the casino.

The Casino Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Implementation and Other Matters) Bill 2022 passed through Parliament today, delivering on an additional 12 of the 33 Royal Commission recommendations to strengthen harm minimisation measures, combat financial crime, and boost governance and oversight of Crown.

To prevent money laundering through the casino, the legislation introduces mandatory identification checks before a person can participate in gambling activities or claim winnings of more than $1000. Cash usage will also be limited to $1000 per 24 hours.

Patrons of the casino will be able to set time and money limits on their gaming activities through a mandatory pre-commitment system for electronic gaming machines for Australian residents in the venue.

The package of harm minimisation and crime prevention reforms together will be a world-first – and the strongest measures in any casino in Australia.

These reforms will also prevent the inappropriate interference in the casino’s running identified by the Royal Commission by requiring the casino’s board and senior management are independent and accountable to the casino operator instead of a parent or holding company – ensuring accountability regardless of who owns the casino.

A person or entity that wishes to own more than 5 per cent of the casino operator or its holding company will require the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission’s approval.

Among other reforms included in the Bill, Crown will be made to pay for the cost of regulating the casino with the reintroduction of a supervision charge that was previously abolished by the former Kennett Liberal Government.

The reforms passed today continue delivering on the Labor Government’s commitment to implement all the Royal Commission’s recommendations to ensure that the casino is protecting its patrons and operating with integrity.

The mandatory pre-commitment system will need to be in place for the casino’s pokies by the end of next year. However, to allow for the development of technologies that do not currently exist, the full package of reforms must be implemented at the casino by no later than December 2025.

These reforms build on important reforms delivered last year, like appointing a Special Manager to oversee the Casino for two years and increasing the maximum penalty for breaches from $1 million to $100 million.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission has also already imposed a limit of one bank account to be held by Crown Melbourne for patrons to deposit funds, helping prevent illegal transfers from occurring.

The remaining recommendations will be delivered within the next 12 months, with the majority to be delivered by the end of 2022.

Crown Melbourne has one chance only to reform its operations and return to suitability to hold the Melbourne casino licence. If the casino operator does not demonstrate that it is suitable to hold the licence, it will be automatically cancelled in 2024.

As stated by Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne

“We are holding Crown Melbourne to account and delivering on an additional 12 recommendations – targeting money laundering and harm minimisation – to implement every one of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

“This legislation implements world-leading reforms to make sure the failures uncovered by the Royal Commission can never happen again.”

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