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Crown Resorts Presents Final Submissions to Victorian Inquiry

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Crown Resorts Presents Final Submissions to Victorian Inquiry
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In its closing remarks to the Victorian Royal Commission, Crown Resorts has stated it is an integral part of Victoria’s economy, adding that the company has paid at least AU$1.4bn ($US1.04bn) in taxes since 2014.

The operator added that Crown Melbourne employed more than 12,000 people, according to The Canberra Times. However, the company had paid AU$61m on July 27 after it was found that Crown failed to pay some of its casino tax. The company promised there will be no more underpayments.

“It’s particularly important at this time, during the pandemic, where tourism and other economic activity is already so hampered … (that) great care should be exercised before recommending anything that might adversely affect Melbourne and Victoria’s ability to advance its tourism industry,” Michael Borsky QC said.

However, the opposition argued that the casino remains a profitable business even if Crown Melbourne should switch operators.

Additionally, the newly established Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission will regulate all gaming in the state and will work independently from the current gambling and liquor authority. “What this will do is provide us with a sharp focus and a dedicated division in the new regulator that focuses directly on regulating the casino,” said Gaming Minister Melissa Horne.

Crown Melbourne announced Chief Executive Xavier Walsh will step down from his duties on August 20 and will leave the company in December. Despite the sudden changes in management, Crown must prove it can safely operate its Melbourne property, as Counsel assisting Adrian Finanzio has already told the Commission the operator is unfit to hold a licence.

The Commission still has to hear several other closing statements before a final decision can be made.

Australia

Sally Pitkin and Gerard Bradley to Step Down from Star Entertainment Board

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Two non-executive directors of the Star Entertainment Group have announced their intention to step down from the Board.

According to an ASX announcement by the company on Friday following another damaging week of public hearings – part of a regular review into Star’s suitability to retain its casino license for The Star Sydney – non-executive directors Sally Pitkin and Gerard Bradley will both stand down in the coming months. Pitkin will step down “by the end of the financial year” and Bradley “in the coming months”, the announcement said, with other changes expected to occur in due course.

Having largely dodged scrutiny in recent years while Crown endured an inquiry in NSW, home to Crown Sydney, and Royal Commissions in Victoria and Western Australia, home to Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, Star now finds itself treading a familiar path as it fights to save its reputation.

In Friday’s ASX filing, Star said it “notes the evidence in relation to Board renewal given in the public hearings in connection with the review of The Star Sydney being undertaken by Mr Adam Bell SC.

“As advised on 1 April 2022 in announcing the appointment of interim Executive Chairman John O’Neill AO, the Board acknowledged the need for accelerated Board change and would embark on a program of renewal in a timely manner. The Board is also mindful of the need for stability in this transitional period.”

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Australia

SPORTRADAR SELECTED BY AUSTRALIAN ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE TO PROVIDE INDUSTRY-LEADING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS

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SPORTRADAR SELECTED BY AUSTRALIAN ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE TO PROVIDE INDUSTRY-LEADING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS
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The Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) announced a major data and AV distribution rights partnership with Sportradar (NASDAQ: SRAD). Sportradar acquires the worldwide data and audio-visual distribution rights, excluding Australia and New Zealand, through to the end of the 2024 season.

As the leading global sports technology company creating immersive experiences for sports fans, Sportradar will deliver a range of advanced technological solutions. One of the main solutions is Connected Stadium, a state-of-the-art automated technology that captures live games and enhances the quality of video production for a more engaging fan experience. The Connected Stadium camera system will be installed in six league venues by 2024, starting with the O’Brien Icehouse in Melbourne. The live feed from the camera system will be used by both local and international broadcasters to help increase viewership and build a larger fanbase for the AIHL.

All eight teams in the AIHL will also be able to use the Synergy coaching and scouting platform, offering full access to videos and detailed analytics to assist with the process of scouting and drafting of players.

Sportradar will also help safeguard the AIHL’s integrity, providing access to the Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), its globally leading bet monitoring and match fixing detection service. This new relationship increases Sportradar Integrity Services’ portfolio of ice hockey partners to ten different leagues around the world, including the National Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League in North America, and the Champions Hockey League in Europe.

David Edwards, Sportradar’s Director of Sports Media & Sports Partnerships – Oceania, said: “The suite of industry-leading technology solutions that we provide is vital for the AIHL to engage a wider audience and grow the profile and participation in ice hockey, both in Australia and other key regions. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase how our expertise and technological capabilities are used to support sports federations and leagues in this region.”

Peter Hartshorne, Chairman of the AIHL, said: “As we ramp up our efforts to grow the AIHL, with the addition of two more teams over the next three years, it is imperative that we have the right technological solutions to realise the league’s commercial potential. With Sportradar’s track record with some of the world’s largest sports leagues, we are confident that this partnership will yield positive results in the near future.”

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Australia

The Star Suspends All Rebate Play Programmes

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The Star Entertainment Group is suspending its domestic and international rebate play programmes while it addresses issues arising from its royal-style commission inquiry in NSW.

Rebate programmes are often used by casinos to attract VIP players – typically either through a rebate on buy-in or a rebate on actual loss.

Earlier this year, The Star’s then-chief casino officer, Greg Hawkins, was questioned about his involvement in a practice in which The Star would switch local players to its international rebate programme in order for the casino to save on gaming taxes.

Hawkins conceded that some staff on the main gaming floor were tasked to encourage eligible players to sign up for its international rebate programme.

“The board has resolved to immediately suspend rebate programs for both domestic and international players across all its casinos until further notice,” said The Star in a filing on Monday morning.

“The Star will work with gaming regulators to address various identified risks as part of ongoing reviews of systems and processes.”

The casino company said it has also engaged with external advisors and continues to work to further improve its systems and processes.

“In light of the Covid-related impacts on this part of the business, the decision to suspend rebate programs is not expected to have any material impact on earnings for FY22,” said the company.

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