Operations At Crown Perth Raising Serious Concerns For The Perth Casino RC
Crown Resorts had its new A$2.2 billion Barangaroo casino license in New South Wales suspended in 2020 after the NSW gaming regulator uncovered evidence that showed the Australian casino operator had violated multiple anti-money laundering laws and breached gaming regulations deliberately.
This prompted investigations into Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth to see if similar breaches had occurred. The investigation into Crown Melbourne highlighted a number of irregularities including tax evasion. The investigation into Crown Perth has also thrown up some serious concerns for the gaming regulator.
The Perth Casino Royal Commission is currently carrying out a detailed review of Crown Perth and like Crown Melbourne there are many shortcomings.
The investigation showed that while Crown Perth informed the public that it was closing its doors due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it secretly kept its high roller room opened during June 29 to July 3, 2021.
ABC News (Australia)
This was a direct violation of the lockdown laws issued by WA Health Minister Roger Cook and Premier Mark McGowan. The director of operations for Crown Perth, Melissa Smith told the commission that the Pearl VIP room was open to visitors who received a special invite from the casino.
Like most Crown properties, Crown Perth depends heavily on its VIP clientele. The Pearl Room only permits gamblers who have a $100,000 turnover to enter its VIP room and enjoy special privileges as these VIP players are big spenders.
Loan Sharking Flourishing
The commission also heard reports and testimonies which showed that loan sharking was flourishing in the casino and around its premises. Crown Perth appeared to turn a blind eye towards the loan sharking business which is again a violation of state gaming laws as casino operators are not allowed to offer or encourage their customers to obtain a credit line.
Loan sharking is when a customer who is losing heavily is approached by a ‘friend’ and offered a credit line facility. The customer is not aware that this ‘friend’ is a loan shark who works for a criminal syndicate. The credit line is given and high interest charges are imposed on the loan amount. The interest rate on these loans can often be as much as 50 percent of the loan amount.
If the player is unable to pay back the loan and interest, they start getting threatened by the criminal syndicate. These findings by the commission do not bode well for Crown Perth and puts its casino license in jeopardy.