View the recent Coronavirus information for licensees
The Melbourne Casino Operator (Crown) is regulated by a range of state and federal government regulators and law enforcement agencies. Our role is to regulate gambling and liquor licensees to minimise harm and ensure Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.
We monitor, investigate, audit and enforce compliance with the current laws and legislation within our remit including:
In addition, a Casino Agreement exists between the VCGLR and Crown which details Crowns licence conditions. See: Casino Agreement and Licence
Under the Casino Control Act 1991 Crown is required to ensure that an approved system of internal controls is implemented. We monitor Crown’s implementation of these systems and controls through an active audit program and take any failure to implement these seriously.
Where Crown has failed to implement these controls, we have taken disciplinary action and issued fines, see: Enforcement actions.
Under the Casino Control Act 1991, we license the casino, approve its associates and license certain employees with functions related to gambling.
An associate is a person who does or will: hold relevant financial interest, be entitled to exercise relevant power, or be able to exercise significant influence over the management or operation of the casino.
Since 2013, we have assessed and approved nine new associated individuals and 3724 casino special employees. For a full list of current approved associates, see: Crown Melbourne Limited Associates
A junket operator is an individual or organisation that promotes and introduces a person or group of people to play at a casino. Junket operators receive a commission based on the turnover of play in the casino.
For more information, see junket and premium player programs below.
While we regulate Crown’s implementation of internal systems and controls to ensure the management and operation of the casino remains free from criminal influence, allegations of money laundering and terrorism financing is a matter for regulators and law enforcement agencies such as AUSTRAC and the Federal Police.
Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Act 2006, Crown is generally obligated to:
We work collaboratively and proactively with other regulators and law enforcement agencies including AUSTRAC and Victoria Police. Criminal matters are dealt with by the Police.
If we become aware of issues that fall outside of our remit, such as alleged money laundering and criminal activity, we have systems in place to ensure that these matters are referred to the relevant agency in a timely matter.
We conduct a wide range of day to day and periodic activities as part of the ongoing regulation and monitoring of Crown. These include:
Since 2013, over 1500 audits of casino operations have been completed as part of our compliance program.
The audits ensure gaming machines are correctly installed and function properly on approved software, that casino employees are strictly complying with all relevant requirements and that the integrity of games played in the casino is maintained.
We’ve also conducted regular bi-monthly, monthly and yearly audits on the payment of gambling taxes.
A junket operator is an individual or organisation that promotes and introduces a person or group of people to play at a casino. Junket operators receive a commission based on turnover of play by players they bring or introduce to the casino.
Premium player arrangements (or programs) are approved arrangements where Crown agrees to pay a casino patron a commission based on their turnover of play in the casino.
A junket operator’s interaction with Crown is regulated by the relevant approved system of internal controls that Crown is required to implement under section 121 of the Casino Control Act 1991.
We can direct Crown to cease relationships with a junket operator to ensure that the casino remains free from criminal influence. We may also order that a person is prohibited from entering or remaining in the casino.
We conduct audits of Crown’s junket and premium player arrangements to monitor compliance with the approved system of internal controls. Our inspectors conduct regular random and targeted audits of various junket and premium play arrangements and transactions.
Our organisation, other regulators and law enforcement agencies are aware of the potential risks of money laundering and other criminal activity at casinos, particularly through junket operations. We work collaboratively and proactively with other regulators and law enforcement agencies to ensure the casino is free from criminal influence. We have formal information sharing arrangements with Victorian Police and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). AUSTRAC is Australia’s financial intelligence unit and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator.
As part of our ongoing regulatory oversight of Crown, we are required to undertake a review of the casino operator every five years. Each review includes recommendations that Crown is required to implement. We then monitor and assess Crown's implementation of these recommendations.
Reviews examine whether:
Our Sixth Review of the Casino Operator and Licence (Sixth Casino Review) thoroughly examined the operations of Crown and made 20 recommendations that Crown is required to report back to the Commission in accordance with set due dates. To date, Crown has made submissions for each of the due recommendations to the Commission by the required due dates.
For details of the review and recommendations, see: Sixth Review of the Casino Operator and Licence June 2018
Review of social and economic impact report - October 2009
We have a comprehensive system of oversight at the casino and our operations include a dedicated team operating from within Crown seven days a week, a dedicated audit and investigations team that reviews and assesses Crown’s casino activities, and, a comprehensive and thorough review of Crown’s operations every five years.
We conduct these activities relating to Crown under relevant Acts, including the Liquor Control Reform Act 1988, the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991
The VCGLR’s enforcement tools are written warnings, directions, infringement notices, criminal prosecution and formal disciplinary action. The use of these options is dependent on the type and circumstances of the alleged breach and is implemented in accordance with our regulatory approach.
Enforcement actions against Crown are published on via our website, refer to:
Sixth Review of the Casino Operator and Licence
Our role relating to Crown is to regulate gambling and liquor and enforce compliance with the relevant legislation, including the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991.
We have undertaken a range of complex and extensive investigations into various matters relating to the casino, many of which have informed the NSW Casino Inquiry.
The findings of the NSW Casino Inquiry report is due in February 2021. If new information or evidence arises, the VCGLR may consider taking regulatory action against Crown if, and when appropriate.
We do not have jurisdiction over criminal matters such as money laundering and organised crime. We refer criminal matters to relevant agencies such as Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, AUSTRAC or the Australian Crime Commission.
In October 2020, we requested Crown Melbourne provide an explanation of its conduct regarding its engagement with junket participants.
We issued a show cause notice as to why disciplinary action should not be taken for failing to ensure that controls regarding junket operators and participants were implemented by Crown during relevant times, particularly in relation to Crown’s due diligence in the supervision and approval of junket participants.
This follows the conclusion of our investigation regarding allegations relating to Crown that were made in media reports in July and August 2019 and within the VCGLR’s regulatory remit.
We are now considering the response from Crown and we will release a statement at the conclusion of this matter.
We are re-examining issues relating to Crown and junket operators that have been reported in the media. The issues are complex and we are undertaking a detailed and thorough review.
Currently, the Casino Control Act 1991 does not contain a licensing regime for junket operators. Rather, Crown must comply with procedures for the conduct of junkets and is required to implement these procedures under section 121 of the Casino Control Act 1991, which are known as “Internal Control Statements” (ICSs).
Under the relevant ICS, Crown must ensure it has robust processes in place to consider the probity of junket operators and participants. Crown is further required to retain various details regarding junkets programs, including participant details and rebates or commissions paid to the junket operator.
We supervise Crown’s compliance with ICSs. As a result of a recent VCGLR review of the ICSs, the VCGLR has commenced work to strengthen controls, particularly regarding the probity of junket participants at the casino. The VCGLR has also issued a show cause notice to Crown as to why disciplinary action should not be taken for failing to properly implement the ICS regarding junket operators and participants (see information on show cause notice above).
Regarding money laundering, we issued Crown with a notice of demand requiring Crown produce the two reports submitted to the NSW Casino Inquiry about money laundering concerns (on 17 November 2020). We will review and consider this information and take the appropriate regulatory action in response.
In 2017, we commenced an investigation to assess the circumstances associated with to the detention and subsequent imprisonment of 19 Crown Melbourne staff in China in October 2016.
Our investigation continues to date. The VCGLR had intended to complete its investigation and include the outcomes in the findings, analysis and recommendations of the Sixth Casino Review, released in June 2018. However, this was precluded by the timing of disclosures of documents by Crown. Since then a series of media reports in July 2019 and further new material obtained from Crown that was not previously provided also needed to be assessed to determine whether the information impacted this investigation.
To date, we have examined thousands of documents, interviewed current and former employees of Crown including staff who were based in China, and engaged with agencies both in Australia and overseas
The NSW Casino Inquiry also made references throughout its public hearings to the VCGLR’s investigation into this matter and the VCGLR draft report, which have contributed to the activities of that NSW Inquiry
More information is available in the 2018-2019 and 2019-20 Annual Report.
There is no time limit for the Commission to undertake its inquiries and investigations under the Casino Control Act 1991.