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Asia-Pacific, Gaming, Regulatory

Director of Australian casino group admits deficiencies in ‘certain areas’ in laundering allegation fallout.

By Dan Byrne for AMLi

THE director of Australia’s biggest gaming group has said his company has proven to be deficient “in some aspects,” as part of a state government inquiry into its past activities

Andrew Demetriou, non-executive director of Crown Resorts, made the comments as the New South Wales government assesses whether the group should be allowed to open a new Casino in the state.  

“It’s not to say we don’t run a very fine business in other areas,” he told the inquiry.

Crown Resorts operates two of the biggest casino complexes in Australia in addition to a small private gaming club in London.  

It has proposed to open a new casino in Sydney but has been pursued by allegations of misconduct since the release of a 2019 documentary by the Australia’s Nine Network, showing how the group may have facilitated money laundering.

Allegations centre around between the group and associated junket operators – effectively agents that encourage VIPs to gamble at specific casinos.

These operators are alleged to have worked with organised criminals, and to have encouraged gamblers in China to bypass the country’s capital control laws.    

A previous investigation by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has resulted in a ‘show cause’ notice being issued to the organisation.  

This will require the group to provide reasons why disciplinary action should not be taken in relation to the junket operator connections.

While admitting fault, Demetriou sought to defend the overall performance of Crown Resorts when he appeared virtually at the NSW government hearing Monday.

“We are a very good organisation,” he told the inquiry. “We run a very large and complex business employing 18,500 people. You don’t win the Australian Employer of the Year three times unless you are running a fine business.”

Rather than admitting any fault with Crown Resorts’ due diligence processes, Demetriou instead called out shortcomings in the organisation’s compliance culture, claiming important information simply didn’t reach the board of directors.

As the inquiry continues, Crown Resorts has pledged to suspend all activity with junket operators until 30th June 2021, while it “undertakes a comprehensive review of its processes related to junket operators.”

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