In the last few years, the iGaming industry in Australia has been thriveing. When it comes to gambling, Australia is probably one of the first countries that come to our mind, as it was among the ones who started developing gambling-friendly legislation systems. But currently gambling in Australia faces great challenges.
Crown Resorts, an Australian gambling operator has just got involved in a scandal. The company faces a threat to licenses and the legal system of the country may impose a fine of multimillion dollars. The casino had been contacted by AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) which accuses the company of being involved in potential money laundering activities.
AUSTRAC usually monitors financial transactions to detect criminal abuse and protect the Australian community from organized crime. It’s a financial crime regulator and now casino operator Crown is officially under its watch. The regulator is going to investigate Crown Resorts not only for breaches of anti-money laundering in Australia but also for counterterrorism financing laws.
Crown Resorts has been operating since 2007 and is the largest gaming and entertainment group in the Australian gambling market. The company has casinos in Melbourne and Perth and is going to build another one in Sydney.
Possible results of the investigation
What will happen if AUSTRAC proves that the Crown really took part in the money laundering process? As financial regulator says, they will be charged with millions of dollars in fines and other than this, they will face threats to their casino licenses. For now, the company is already facing some problems, as officials are trying to check how they managed to bring in high-roller gamblers, especially from China. A year ago, several entertainment newspapers claimed that Crown Melbourne was connected to tour operators with crime links in Asia.
AUSTRAC spokesperson confirmed that the regulator already started the investigation process in the Crown’s branch in Melbourne. As they say, it’s a consequence of the assessment of compliance started in September 2019. It was the only comment from the regulator and they are not going to give the media any further comments until the investigation is complete.
However, Crown Melbourne talked to the media about the current issue. As the gambling giant says, they are going to completely cooperate with AUSTRAC about this process and support the investigation.
How was the Crown Resorts affected?
Except for the fact that the casino company has experienced the most embarrassing week in his history that will definitely affect their reputation, their financial situation seriously worsened. Particularly, the incident deeply influenced on Crown’s shares and made them fall by 9.5% in several hours after the news spread.
But it’s not only the case and things are expected to go worse after the company’s annual general meeting which is planned on Thursday. Due to the pandemic, the meeting will be held online. Hopefully, for the Crown Casino, some institutional investors voted against the financial regulator’s accusations and supported Crown. However, for now, the fate of Crown Resort’s directors and the casino, in general, remains uncertain.