20 July, 2021
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The Alliance for Gambling Reform is delighted for the people of Victoria after the Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission recommended today that Crown no longer hold a casino licence.
Counsel Assisting Adrian Finanzio SC said evidence presented at the Royal Commission included “serious misconduct, illegal conduct and highly inappropriate conduct which has been encouraged or facilitated by a culture which has consistently put profit ahead before all other considerations.”
Alliance Chief Advocate, the Rev Tim Costello, said that it was right for the casino giant to be stripped of its licence, and that a new, stricter casino regulation process should be put in place in Victoria.
“The Alliance’s submission to the Victorian Royal Commission said that Crown was not fit to hold a casino licence, so we are absolutely delighted that Counsel Assisting agrees,” Rev Costello said.
“The weight of evidence presented of misconduct and appalling behaviour and culture at Crown Melbourne has been extraordinary. It’s patently clear that Crown has a total disregard for its patrons and its obligations, putting profit above everything else, including people’s lives and livelihoods.
“For decades Crown has acted as a law unto itself. It’s long overdue for the needs of the people of Victoria to be put ahead of the insatiable desire for profit at all costs of Crown.
“They have consistently failed in their obligations to reduce gambling harm, and have actively exacerbated it at times, as so many testimonies of both patrons and staff attested.
“The breaches by Crown of its Responsible Service of Gambling obligations are bad enough. Those coupled with the money laundering and other criminal behaviour on the casino floor shows Crown is not a ‘fit person’ to hold a casino licence, and should have been stripped of their licence before now.
“It’s equivalent to one of us repeatedly running red lights and never having our driver’s licence taken away. Well, Crown has finally run too many red lights. It’s time they were punished. We can’t wait to hear Crown’s licence has officially been removed at the end of this Royal Commission.”
“The amount of damage done by Crown to our community and to our economy cannot be underestimated. Every dollar lost there is a dollar not spent in a small business, supporting local tradies or buying food for families. It’s time for Crown’s reign over Victoria to end.”
Anna Bardsley lost 10 years of her life gambling at Crown and elsewhere. She made her own submission to the commission and agreed that Crown Resorts should lose its casino licence.
“This is a very happy day for the people who have been consistently exploited by this company for decades, for our family and friends, and for the people of Victoria too,” Ms Bardsley said.
“Crown Casino has been strip-mining our community, extracting money and years from Victorians and visitors to our beautiful state. They’ve done everything they could to maximise the money they take from us, and done nothing to protect the people using their addictive product.
“They’re no better than the tobacco industry and how they used to prey on children to turn them into smokers. The fact they knew there was money laundering happening in their casino and did nothing about it says everything you need to know about the lack of integrity Crown has.
“A casino is proffering a dangerous, addictive product and should never be allowed to run with the abandon Crown has for decades.
Personally, I would like the Melbourne casino to be shut down permanently. But short of that, I would like to see this Royal Commission recommend much tighter regulations, insist that whoever holds the new licence be watched like hawks, and a cashless gambling system carefully designed to reduce gambling harm should also be introduced.”
Media contact: Rebecca Thorpe on 0491 209 436 or [email protected]
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