An important inquiry commences today in Western Australia conducted by the Royal Commission. Namely, the Commission will analyse Crown Resorts’ conduct and sustainability following the instigation of a similar inquiry in Victoria the previous month.
According to previous reports, Western Australia’s Royal Commission has the mandate to investigate the company’s sustainability to carry a Crown Perth casino gaming licence. The Commission will also determine the fairness of the state’s regulatory and legislative framework.
This inquiry comes after the Bergin Report in New South Wales, which proposed Crown Resorts be undue to carry a licence for the casino in Crown Sydney because of its ties with organised crime and money laundering. The NSW report was released on February 9, immediately after which the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) — New South Wales’ gaming regulator concurred with the findings.
Thus, less than a week after the report was made public, the ILGA confirmed the Bergin Report and established Crown Resorts to be indecorous. Consequently, that confirmation prompted Western Australia’s inquiry.
Following the Terms of Reference, the Western Australia Royal Commission is required to investigate and report on the Crown Resorts’ sustainability from today. It will also need to look into its local subsidiaries and whether it is suitable to continue to hold a licence. Finally, the Commission needs to determine which actions the company needs to take to become satisfactory again if found unsuitable.
On top of that, the WA Royal Commission needs to determine whether Crown Resorts’ current regulatory framework is adequately prepared. This action is required to address the abiding and emerging strategic risks reported in the Bergin Report or anywhere else in the ongoing inquiry.
Not only that, but the WA Royal Commission needs to expand its inquiry and consider allegations concerning money laundering, electronic and cash transactions, and other junket operations. That also includes the risk of infiltration by certain criminal elements into Crown Resorts’ casino operations.
One key difference between Western Australia’s and Victoria’s Royal Commission is how heavily one should rely on the Bergin Report’s findings. While it was directed that the Victoria Royal Commission should not depend on the previous findings as much, the Western Australia commissioner has different thoughts.
Namely, the commissioner has the right to continue to inquire into a particular matter until they reach satisfaction levels of inquiry. To be more specific, the commissioner has the right to determine whether one issue has been appropriately and sufficiently dealt with by another investigation or inquiry.
The Western Australia Royal Commission has two deadlines regarding its inquiry into Crown Resorts. June 30, 2021, is the deadline for submitting an interim report, while November 14, 2021, is the final date for the finished report with recommendations.