The Victorian Government has today announced the establishment of a Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne Ltd’s (Crown Melbourne) suitability to hold its Victorian casino licence, as well as the suitability of its associates, including Crown Resorts Ltd.
This Royal Commission responds to the serious findings of the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) inquiry.
Since receiving the ILGA report, the Government has taken advice about the most appropriate way to proceed in Victoria.
Establishing a Royal Commission will ensure the most appropriate access to information regarding Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold the casino licence given the Commission’s powers to compel witnesses and documentation.
Raymond Finkelstein QC will serve as Commissioner and Chairperson of the Royal Commission and will hand down his recommendations by 1 August 2021.
Mr Finkelstein QC has served more than 40 years at the Victorian Bar and has been a Queen’s Counsel since 1986. He was appointed a judge of the Federal Court in 1997 and held other notable appointments as Deputy President of the Copyright Tribunal of Australia and President of the Australian Competition Tribunal.
He retired as a judge of the Federal Court and President of the Competition Tribunal in 2011 and has returned to private practice at the Victorian Bar.
Later this year, the Government will legislate to enable the Victorian Gaming and Liquor Regulation Commission (VCGLR) to give effect to any findings of the Royal Commission.
The Government has also commenced work to establish an independent casino regulator and Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne has commissioned a review to advise on the necessary structural and governance arrangements.
The independent review will occur parallel with the Royal Commission and will also assess, among other things, requirements for regulation of money laundering and junket operations.
As stated by Premier Daniel Andrews
“This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity – and that they’re accountable for their actions.”
As stated by Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne
“The reports from New South Wales’ ILGA Inquiry were incredibly concerning, which is why we’re establishing a Royal Commission to get the answers we need about Crown Melbourne.”
“The Royal Commission will establish the facts and the Government and the VCGLR will take any necessary action at the conclusion of the investigation. We will not tolerate illegal behaviour in our gaming industry.”