Australia’s Crown Resorts suspend junket operations following public hearing

Senior management had been unaware of large cash deposits and transfers being made in junket rooms located within its own casino at Crown Melbourne

The operator Crown Resorts has suspended all activity with junket operators until 3 June next year following the September public hearing which is still ongoing. Additionally, Crown created the new role Head of Compliance and Financial Crimes which will report directly to the Board. The new department shall support the company in undertaking a comprehensive review of its processes related to junket operators. 

Crown’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Ken Barton confirmed that senior management had been unaware of large cash deposits and transfers being made in junket rooms located within its own casino at Crown Melbourne while judge Patricia Bergin subsequently slammed Crown’s internal AML controls as a ‘debacle.’  

Ken Barton | AGBJudge Bergin added: “The irresistible conclusion is that nothing works. This went on for years. This went on from ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16 through to ’19 and now Mr Barton is seeing things for the first time in this inquiry. This, in effect, has really reached the debacle level. It is very, very troubling. I mean, Mr Barton has made a lot of concessions but at the moment it is just extraordinarily troubling.” 

Naomi Sharp who works for the counsel assisting the inquiry accused Crown of turning ‘a blind eye to the prospect of money laundering taking place’ asked. And AML officer Joshua Preston said he was alarmed that this didn’t set ‘money-laundering alarms ringing.’ relating to the discovery of $5.6m of cash stored in a cupboard in March 2018. 

Crown intends to progressively open the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort on or around 14 December 2020. Once fully operational, it is intended that gaming operations at Crown Sydney will comprise a total of 30 table games across 12 private gaming salons within the tower and 129 table games and 66 electronic table game terminals within two distinct gaming rooms within the podium. 

SiGMA Calendar:  

SiGMA Americas and AIBC Digital Summit were launched with great success in the past week, pushing the shifting grounds of the gaming industry towards LatAm and discussing the current developments in digitalisationIn a first for SiGMA, both the gaming and the tech segments of the conference were offered in 3 languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese.   

SiGMA will launch its next series of events in 2021, with SiGMA Europe headlining next year's calendar. Inaugural summits in Asia and Americas are also set to dominate the year, with SiGMA Asia launching in May 2021 and SiGMA Africa in 2022! Explore the full agenda here and register now! 

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