Crown Resorts Faces $80m Fine For Accepting Chinese Bank Card Payments
- Crown Melbourne ran a bank card scam, pocketing $32 million from 2012 to 2016
- The scheme violates Australian and Chinese laws
- Crown could be slapped with more fines over money laundering allegations
Crown Resorts has been slapped with a massive $80 million fine for running a bank card scam that allowed Chinese nationals to smuggle millions in gambling funds out of China into Melbourne.
Crown facilitated the illegal scheme and concealed it by disguising the transactions as hotel expenses.
The casino accepted payments through China UnionPay card amounting to $164 million from 2012 to 2016. Within that period, Crown amassed over $32 million in revenue by running the bank card scam.
Announcing the record $80 million fine against Crown, the recently-established Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission stated that the casino’s China UnionPay bank card process was clandestine and deliberate, and violated both Australian and Chinese laws.
By accepting payments through the China UnionPay card, Crown violated the prohibition under Australia’s gambling laws on the use of credit and debit cards for gambling. The casino also failed to uphold the accuracy of its accounting records when it misrepresented the transactions to hide its wrongdoing, and in effect allowed its gambling venues to become a potential money laundering hotspot.
Furthermore, Crown assisted its customers to violate their home country’s foreign currency exchange restrictions.
Commission chairperson Fran Thorn said that Crown proceeded to run the scheme despite being fully aware that it could be in breach of its regulatory duties. The casino also exerted great effort in hiding its unscrupulous practices, the commission added.
More Financial Trouble for Crown
The Australian casino giant became the subject of a Royal Commission investigation after its Melbourne establishment was hit with allegations of money laundering, fraud, and organized crime. Similar inquiries were also launched on its Perth and Sydney venues. The casino was ultimately found unfit to hold a gaming license in all three jurisdictions.
The $80 million fine imposed by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission isn’t the only financial penalty that Crown Resorts would have to face arising from the various scandals surrounding the company.
Crown could also be hit with a hefty fine over serious and systemic anti-money laundering law breaches. Australia’s financial crimes regulator, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), already launched a civil action against the casino on that matter.
Crown’s main competitor, Star Entertainment, could also suffer a similar fate as an ongoing investigation into the casino found that it also processed UnionPay card payments at its Sydney establishment.