The Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) share price will be on watch tomorrow as the casino operator faces another regulatory battle.
After the market closed today, news broke that the Victorian Government has established a Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold its Victorian casino licence.
This comes following the recent NSW inquiry, which found that Crown was unfit to hold a casino licence in NSW.
The inquiry also found that Crown facilitated money laundering through the Southbank and Riverbank accounts, and was involved in commercial relationships with junket operators who had links to triads and other organised crime groups.
Details of the Royal Commission
In a media release, the Victorian Government stated that since receiving the findings from the NSW inquiry, it has taken advice about the most appropriate way to proceed in Victoria.
“Establishing a Royal Commission will ensure the most appropriate access to information regarding Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold the casino licence given the Commission’s powers to compel witnesses and documentation,” the release said.
Raymond Finkelstein QC will serve as Commissioner and Chairperson of the Royal Commission and will hand down his recommendations by 1 August 2021.
Commenting on the Royal Commission, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said: “This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity – and that they’re accountable for their actions.”
In an ASX release, Crown said it will fully co-operate with the Royal Commission.
Helen Coonan, Crown’s executive chair, said: “Crown welcomes the announcement from the Victorian Government as it provides an opportunity to detail the reforms and changes to our business to deliver the highest standards of governance and compliance, and an organisational culture that meets community expectations.”
“Victorians should be assured we recognise the responsibility placed on us by the community, governments and regulators and we will fully cooperate with the Royal Commission,” she added.
Another director bites the dust
Also announced after the market closed today was another director resignation, with Harold Mitchell stepping down with immediate effect.
This resignation means four of nine Crown directors have resigned since the findings of the NSW inquiry was released.
Crown recently delivered its half-year FY21 results, reporting a $120 million net loss after tax.
Despite its licencing issues, the Crown share price has so far been relatively unscathed, with shares up around 6% year-to-date.