Freedomroo – Daniel Andrews, royal commission, Crown Melbourne, James Packer, casino inquiry

Employee takes cheeky gibe at CEO Christine Holgate

Premier Daniel Andrews says a royal commission into Crown Melbourne will be “narrow” and solely focus on whether the state‘s largest employer is fit to hold a casino licence.

Speaking on Tuesday morning in Melbourne‘s northeast, the Victorian Premier said the probe into the casino giant would determine if the company was a suitable entity to run the state’s largest gaming venue.

The state government on Monday announced a royal commission into Crown Melbourne. The move was sparked by the recent NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming inquiry that recommended the James Packer-backed casino should have its gaming licence revoked for its $2.2bn Sydney Barangaroo complex.

Crown Resorts has been under the spotlight for a slew of governance failings after illegal money laundering allegedly occurred at both its Melbourne and Perth casinos.

The company’s reliance on VIP gaming through high roller junket partners has also been brought into question due to casino tour groups having known links to organised crime in Asia.

Mr Andrews noted Crown‘s future would rest on whether it worked in Victoria’s interest.

“This is about protecting the state‘s interest and making sure we can have confidence whoever holds that licence is fit to hold that licence and operates to the highest standards,” Mr Andrews said.

“It‘s more than just a gaming floor. It’s an entire precinct that is the biggest single-site employer in the state, but it has to be run to the highest of standards and not just through what’s been found but what’s been admitted.”

The NSW ILGA report conducted by Commissioner Patricia Bergin has sparked a mass clearing of senior executives and directors at Crown, including its chief executive Ken Barton and Packer loyalists Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston.

The damning report has also resulted in the fall from grace of former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou.

Raymond Finkelstein QC will serve as commissioner for the inquiry, which will hand down its report by August 1, 2021.

Victorian Gaming Minister Melissa Horne said the NSW report was “incredibly concerning” and prompted answers about the operations at Crown Melbourne.

“The royal commission will establish the facts and the government and the VCGLR will take any necessary action at the conclusion of the investigation. We will not tolerate illegal behaviour in our gaming industry,” she said in a statement.

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