The epic regulatory saga is just starting in Western Australia and Victoria while it’s essentially completed in New South Wales. The major Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, the company in the middle of this predicament, has just hired Nick Weeks to head its regulatory response and subsequent transition.
Nick Weeks is the former chief operating officer of the National Rugby League (NRL). Back in September, he was made redundant by the league as part of its cost-cutting plan that amounts to $80 million.
Crown Resorts hired him primarily as a response to the New South Wales Bergin inquiry. However, he will also assist in the royal commissions in Western Australia and Victoria that are just starting.
Terms of Reference from the Western Australia Royal Commission
The Western Australia royal commission has released its terms of reference. The commission is following the New South Wales inquiry, as it has recommended for Crown Resorts to be ill-equipped to keep a license for its Sydney casino, mostly because of links to organised crime and money laundering.
The commission in WA will also try to determine the company’s eligibility to hold this license. Furthermore, it will examine the state’s regulatory framework to check if it can deal with similar regulatory predicaments.
These terms of reference also state that the royal commission will examine and report on the local subsidiaries of Crown Resort and how able they are to hold Crown Perth’s license.
The terms cover what actions will be taken if the commission finds the Crown Resorts unsuitable for the license, so we can expect adequate measures on any findings.
As for the inquiry into the current regulatory framework’s adequacy, the terms also show specific details. The commission will strive to use the findings from the Bergin report and its own results to locate strategic risks when it comes to money laundering, infiltration of criminals into the casino business, and illegal money transactions, both cash and electronic.
Once it does, there will be enough insights to check the legal framework’s adequacy to deal with casino regulation conflicts of interest. It will also improve the whole framework and patch the possible holes that might allow for these problems to occur.
Important Remarks from the Head of the Victoria Royal Commission
Ray Finklestein, the former judge leading the royal commission in Victoria, has stated that he is not interested in any delays and will not tolerate any on the part of Crown Resorts. The company will have to produce all necessary documents when the royal commission deems them necessary.
Finklestein is determined to present his findings to the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, by August 1.
He has also stated that his commission will not only look into the possible criminal connections and money laundering issues from the past but also if these continued and how the company dealt with them and problem gambling.
Crown Resorts has already stated that all problems were fixed with its reform program and that the company is now fit to run the casino in Melbourne.
As for us, we’ll continue to follow new developments, so you’ll be able to learn everything as soon as the news breaks.