Crown Resorts has asked the royal commission to be let off on trust to run its Melbourne casino. However, the Victorian royal commission’s head claims that such an ending to the story would mean letting the company get away with criminal activities.
Crown Resorts has announced that Xavier Walsh, Melbourne’s chief executive, would step down. This happened 30 minutes before Ray Finkelstein, QC’s commissioner, started the final hearings.
On the other hand, Crown’s lawyer, Michael Borsky, said that the company accepted all the findings and apologised.
Borsky also suggested that the casino continue its practices monitored by an independent company, which should help the company get back on the right track. That’s when Finkelstein suggested the possibility of another company running Crown Resorts and taking over the casino. However, Crown’s lawyer said that suspending or cancelling the licence would cost people thousands of jobs, make the company default on loans, deprive the state government of revenue, and harm Victoria’s economic recovery. Yet, he agreed that Mr Finkelstein was right to claim the company is unsuitable.
On the other side, Finkelstein said that appointing a monitor to oversee Crown’s practices in the future would not appear as a true consequence for all the wrongdoing. He added that a decade of questionable practices could not be corrected by simply saying we fixed it.
Finkelstein used car theft as an example, saying that if a car thief suggested that he understood his mistake and promised not to repeat it, the court would not let him off the hook because that’s not how the system works.
However, Borsky defended the company saying that Crown has learned a lesson, and it’s not saying it fixed the mistake by suggesting an appointed monitor.
Crown’s Melbourne location employs more people than any other casino — over 10,000. The company is also facing a royal commission for its WA’s location after an NSW inquiry found that its Sydney complex was not fit to operate.
How can Crown’s licence actually be cancelled? Well, since premier Daniel Andrews faced criticism after refusing to investigate Crown after illegal evidence emerged, he said that a new regulator would take care of it.
Similarly, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, which holds responsibility for gaming and liquor licensing, was called a failed experiment by Gaming Minister Melissa Horne.
So, if Mr Finkelstein recommends cancelling or suspending Crown’s licence, the current regulator would need to present enough evidence to do so. He also added that current employees would not necessarily lose their jobs but could retain them under new management.
In the end, Finkelstein said that Crown could be allowed to run the hospitality section of the complex while someone else would run the gaming sector. Borsky ended by saying that Crown Resorts opposed such a preposition.