Finance Regulator AUSTRAC Investigates Two Casinos

Finance Regulator AUSTRAC Investigates Two Casinos

AUSTRAC or the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre has expanded its investigation into the Crown Resorts Perth venue, citing various shortcomings. 

The team is probing the casino for violation of anti-money laundering guidelines of the state. The incident has fueled tension for Crown Resorts as its main casino in Melbourne was subjected to inquiry in October on the grounds of internal mismanagement involving high-risk and politically involved people. AUSTRAC experts are also investigating the New Zealand-based SkyCity casino in Adelaide related to issues concerning high-risk customers between 2015 through 2019. It is the only foreign venue of SkyCity firm and fetches one-sixth of its pre-tax earnings. 

According to the report, the financial watchdog has started its investigation and probing into the matter so as to recognize the issues quickly. However, the investigating team has not revealed the details about the breach that happened inside the casino. The regulating authorities suspended the operator’s gambling license in 2020, right before the launch of its Sydney-based resort in December. The entity faced allegations of facilitating organized criminal activities inside its premises. 

The Melbourne venue came into light when investigations discovered that the casino had disobeyed the guidelines of the Casino Control Act of the Victorian state. The operator allowed players from across the country to deposit money through debit or credit cards which falls outside the purview of the statute. The company has revealed that it had been accused of selling tokens worth more than A$160 Million to players via debit and credit cards in a four-year span from 2012 through 2016. 

The entire fiasco caused a major setback for Crown Casino as the firm faced a sharp downfall in popularity and reputation in the industry. The arrest of its employees in China in 2016 tarnished its international image. The team disposed of its stake in a Macau-based casino operator and dropped its collaboration plan in a Las Vegas project. A few weeks back, a U.S private equity company Blackstone Group Inc. proposed a plan to take over Crown Resorts, but the firm refused to consider the proposal. The team stated that the deal undervalued its worth and had legal complications as well.

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