Victorian Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence (Victorian Royal Commission)
On 26 October 2021, the Report of the Victorian Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence for Crown Melbourne was publicly released after being tabled in the Victorian Parliament. On the same day, the Victorian Government released its response in relation to the Report.
The Report can be found here.
The Victorian Government’s response to the Report can be found here.
The Victorian Royal Commission's website contains links to additional information, including to its Terms of Reference, hearing transcripts, exhibits tendered as evidence, and closing and responsive submissions (including Crown's submissions dated 2 August 2021, 9 August 2021 and 13 August 2021). This website can be found at https://www.rccol.vic.gov.au.
The Commissioner made a number of findings in the Report regarding Crown Melbourne and its associates (including Crown Resorts), and made 33 recommendations, including a recommendation that Crown Melbourne be required to operate under the oversight and direction of a Special Manager for a period of two years, with the costs of establishing and implementing the Special Manager to be borne by Crown Melbourne.
The Victorian Government has passed legislation to give effect to nine 'priority' recommendations, including establishing the position of the Special Manager, repealing certain provisions that provided that the State may be liable to pay compensation to Crown Melbourne in certain circumstances, and increasing the maximum penalty that can be imposed for disciplinary action.
The legislation also established the new regulator, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), which commenced on 1 January 2022.
The legislation, the Casino and Gambling Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (which amends a number of provisions of the Casino Control Act 1991 and other legislation), can be accessed here.
Following the passage of that legislation, Mr Stephen O'Bryan QC has been appointed as the Special Manager and has commenced his work.
Mr O'Bryan is required to investigate a range of matters identified by the Royal Commission (and any other matters he considers require investigation) and to report to the VGCCC and the Minister on an interim basis and at the end of the second year of his appointment.
Upon receipt of the Special Manager's final report, the VGCCC may determine that it is clearly satisfied that Crown Melbourne is a suitable person to continue to hold a casino licence and that it is in the public interest for the licence to continue in force. Unless the VGCCC makes such a determination, the casino licence will be cancelled.
The Victorian Government has expressed its support for the remaining 24 recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission, subject to further detailed analysis and consultation being undertaken. Those recommendations cover a broad range of areas, including the minimisation of gambling harm, reforms to Crown Melbourne and the addressing of anti-money laundering risks.
The Victorian Government is consulting with a range of stakeholders (including Crown) about those recommendations and Crown expects that further legislation addressing these recommendations will be introduced by the Victorian Government this year. Crown will continue to work cooperatively and constructively with the Victorian Government in relation to the findings and recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission, and the Government's response.
Perth Casino Royal Commission (PCRC)
On 5 March 2021, the Honourable Neville Owen (AO), the Honourable Lindy Jenkins and Mr Colin Murphy (PSM), were appointed Royal Commissioners to inquire into the suitability of Crown Perth to continue holding a casino gaming licence in Western Australia. The Commissioners also examined the State's regulatory framework for casino gaming, including any matters that might enhance the Gaming and Wagering Commission's future capability and effectiveness.
The PCRC delivered its final report with findings and recommendations to the Governor of Western Australia on 4 March 2022 (PCRC Report), and the PCRC Report was publicly released on 24 March 2022 after being tabled in the Western Australian Parliament.
The PCRC Report can be found here.
The Western Australian Government’s response to the PCRC Report can be found here.
A website was also established by the Western Australian Government where additional information can be found, including the Terms of Reference establishing the PCRC, the hearing schedule, video recordings of public hearings, hearing transcripts and exhibits tendered as evidence. This website can be found at Perth Casino Royal Commission.
The PCRC made a number of findings regarding Crown Perth, Crown Resorts, and other Crown entities, including that each of Crown Perth, Crown Resorts, and those other Crown entities would be required to continue on a pathway to suitability, with their remediation activities overseen by an independent monitor. The PCRC has stated that this period of oversight would likely last for a period of about two years (from 4 March 2022), after which the independent monitor would provide a report to the Gaming and Wagering Commission.
The PCRC has also made 59 recommendations relating to various matters, including the trust and corporate structure of Crown Perth, the governance of certain Crown entities, gaming operations at Crown Perth and the regulatory framework that applies to Crown Perth.
Crown is considering the PCRC Report and intends to work cooperatively and constructively with the Western Australian Government in relation to the findings and recommendations of the PCRC Report.