Crown Resorts to go cashless in huge shake-up in Australian casino industry

Crown Resorts has been fined heavily after VIP breaches

Crown Resorts will implement cashless gambling in a bid to stamp out money laundering, following a deal with the NSW regulator. 

The Australian gambling giant has also agreed to ditch its controversial inside smoking policy, which allows high roller rooms to house smokers, but the beleaguered company says it will be phased out over the coming years. 

Crown Resorts will also pay $12.5 million towards the cost of the Bergin inquiry, which found they were unfit to hold the licence for their new venture on Sydney Harbour. It also found Crown Melbourne, which is responsible for 70% of their revenue in Australia, was the main culprit. 

Crown’s Executive Chairman Helen Coonan said they had received the necessary wake-up call and vowed their standards would not slip again in the future. 

“While we recognise we have more work to do, we welcome ILGA’s indication today that Crown’s reform implementation is well-advanced towards suitability to operate gaming at Crown Sydney,” she said. 

“It’s important to know we are well on track but I have assured the regulator there will be no complacency as we continue to embed the changes to improve our governance and compliance processes across the organisation.” 

The deal with NSW Gaming and Liquor, which will ultimately allow them to operate Crown Sydney, comes hot on the heels of Crown Resorts being fined $1 million by the Victorian gambling regulator for failing to properly scrutinise foreign high rollers, some of whom are linked to organised crime. 

The damning evidence presented in the Bergin report showed wads of $50 notes being swapped for gambling chips at Crown Melbourne. The report also found that junket tour operators, who bring wealthy Chinese gamblers to Crown’s venues, had links to organised crime gangs or triads.

Crown Resorts will now run its VIP program out of Australia and have closed their offices in overseas locations.  

The ban on smoking includes high-profile rooms like the Mahogany Room at Crown Melbourne, which is sure to rile the many VIPs from overseas. 

Crown Resorts is yet to show any indication they are keen to embrace iGaming or digital gambling in the Australian market, although this latest round of reprimands could cause a rethink.

Gambling regulators in Australia have banned online casinos, with sports betting sites, online lotto, keno and horse racing some of the legal forms of wagering down under.

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