Victoria cracks down on casino operators after Crown Melbourne affair

By Dominic Marius-Markham

Victoria’s government has brought new legislation before the state’s parliament following its inquiry and subsequent report that found Crown Resorts ‘unsuitable’ to operate its Melbourne property.

The Casino and Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 is intended to revise existing laws in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Casino and Operator Licence, with the chief aim of strengthening the oversight and regulation of casino operators as well as establishing the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

In response, Crown published a statement expressing its willingness to cooperate with the Victorian Government, saying: “Crown will review the details of the bill and engage with the government to understand the proposed legislative amendments relating to Crown Melbourne.”

This news comes shortly after Crown Resorts was found guilty of “grave, ongoing legal breaches and misconduct that contravened not only Australian laws but the laws of other countries,” though the operator retained its licence.

Many of the proposed amendments directly address the casino company’s transgressions, for example, the bill seeks to “provide for the cancellation of the casino licence held by Crown Melbourne Limited, unless the Commission exercises its discretion to find the casino operator suitable following a period of reform.”

In addition, the piece of legislation looks to establish a dedicated casino and gambling regulator in the form of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

The bill passed its first reading on 26 October and was moved for a second a day later. If written into law, it will overwrite four existing pieces of legislation: the Casino Control Act 1991, the Casino 5 (Management Agreement) Act 1993, the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation Act 2011.


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