Crown Resorts Pays Out $61 Million in Underpaid Taxes To Victoria
Crown Resorts has paid $61 million in underpaid taxes to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) after an ongoing investigation into the company’s activities in the state found that it underreported its taxes and was liable to pay outstanding taxes from the 2012 till date.
The underpayment amounted to $37 million, but it ballooned to $61 million after $24 million in related interest charges were added in. The Victorian Royal Commission said the underpaid taxes stemmed from unlawful deduction of certain bonus rewards given to customers playing on electronic gaming machines at Crown Melbourne.
The Commission has been hearing evidence for some time now, to determine whether or not Crown is suitable to continue to hold a license in the state.
The ongoing investigation also revealed that Xavier Walsh, Chief Executive of Crown Melbourne, had been aware of the tax issues faced by the company since 2018, but only acted on it after the Victorian government called a royal commission into the casino operator.
The Victorian Royal Commission is due to deliver its full findings and final report in October this year, and prosecutors suggest that Crown could be on the hook for as much as $480 million if the total tax underpayments are established.
Crown said it is currently reviewing all other aspects of the company’s tax payments, including its Matchplay loyalty promotion.
Crown Accused Of Having No Morals
Reverend Tim Costello, Chief Advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, condemned Crown’s unlawful practices, accusing the casino of having no morality. Costello said the payment made by Crown was “too little too late” and that the actual figure should be hundreds of millions of dollars.
Last week, the commission’s inquiry into multiple offenses allegedly committed by Crown heard that the company is still not fit to hold a license in the state.
Adrian Finanzio SC, the counsel assisting the inquiry, stated that relevant evidence shows Crown fostered a culture of placing profit before anything else, which resulted in serious misconduct, and illegal and highly inappropriate conduct. Finanzio added that the company may never be able to reform that culture which makes it permanently unsuitable to be a casino licensee in Victoria.
Crown Melbourne is among Victoria’s biggest employers, but Premier Daniel Andrews has expressed willingness to force the company to terminate its operations in the state if the royal commission decides that Crown is not fit to hold a casino license in Victoria.
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