The New South Wales gaming regulator has reportedly launched legal action against Melco Resorts & Entertainment in a bid to recoup around AU$3.7 million (US$2.6 million) in legal costs.
The action relates to the Bergin Inquiry into Crown Resorts, which ultimately found the Australian casino giant unsuitable to hold a gaming license for its AU$2.2 billion Crown Sydney development. The inquiry was called in part to investigate Melco’s 2019 acquisition of a 9.99% stake in Crown from its largest shareholder James Packer, and whether this breached a clause in Crown’s license that prohibited it from working with Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho.
The Bergin Report ultimately found that the sale of shares to Melco did not breach Crown’s NSW license, and by that stage Melco had already sold its stake to The Blackstone Group, however, that hasn’t stopped the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) from pursuing costs.
According to the Australian Financial Review, ILGA believes it is entitled to recover at least some of the expenses of the inquiry from the Macau casino operator, which is headed by Lawrence Ho.
“In light of the findings of the Bergin report, ILGA considered it appropriate for Melco and Crown Resorts Limited (Crown) to provide payment for the costs of the inquiry,” an ILGA spokeswoman said.
“ILGA reached agreement with Crown in May 2021 … as an agreement has not been reached with Melco, ILGA initiated proceedings.”
The AFR report quotes a Melco spokesman as insisting the company had, “sought to work with ILGA in a professional, fair and reasonable manner throughout our engagement with them on this issue.
“We have previously requested information from ILGA in an effort to reach an amicable resolution. Despite this request, we have not received the information that is necessary for Melco to adequately assess ILGA’s claim,” they stated.
Crown was ultimately found unsuitable to retain its casino license due to concerns over its ties to Asian junkets and the failure of management to implement sufficient anti-money laundering controls.
Australian Parliament Passes Legislation Banning Online Credit Card Betting
The Australian Federal Parliament has passed the legislation banning the use of credit cards as a payment method for online wagering.
Responsible Wagering Australia CEO Kai Cantwell said that this change was much needed, as Australians should only be gambling with money that they have.
“This is an important measure to protect customers and their loved ones, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour,” Mr Cantwell said.
“It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members to customers to help them stay in control of their betting.
“It is disappointing to see that other forms of gambling such as lotteries and keno have been exempted from the ban, especially when lotteries are the most prevalent form of gambling in Australia and are commonly accessed by people in low-socioeconomic communities.
“The latest Australian Gambling Statistics show that Australians lost most than $3.2 billion on lotteries and keno in 2020-21. With the introduction of online keno in Victoria, keno losses increased more than 400 per cent from 2021-22 to 2022-23.
“Lotteries were also exempt from the National Self Exclusion Register, Betstop, meaning that Australians who have self-excluded from online gambling are not precluded from gambling up to $10,000 online at a time through lotteries.
“To effectively reduce gambling harm, consumer protection measures must exist across all forms of gambling, otherwise those at risk of harm will just move from one form of gambling to another less regulated type.
“RWA members have been working with the Federal Government and the financial services industry to deliver this credit card ban since 2021 and will continue to engage productively to ensure the ban can be implemented effectively within six months.”
BTG’s ‘Christmas Catch’ Slot Hits Evolution Network December 1
Is there anything more Christmassy than BTG’s Christmas Catch?
The countdown to Christmas has begun, which can mean only one thing: a new festive game from Big Time Gaming. Christmas Catch is high on volatility, even higher on tinsel, and comes stuffed with more goodies than Santa’s sack. This seasonal slot will be hitting the Evolution Network on December 1 like a Christmas pud out of a bazooka.
If all you want for Christmas is a seasonal twist on BTG’s fan favourite Golden Catch slot, then you’ve come to the right place. Christmas Catch takes the magic of the original and transplants it to a winter wonderland on Christmas Eve.
Santa’s hardworking reindeer are putting in overtime this year. With every every spin and reaction, there’s the chance of a Sleigh symbol appearing above reels two to five. Whenever winning symbols are removed, one or more Gift Bonus Prizes may appear. Gift Bonus Prizes are awarded for each Sleigh and can be worth up to 500x the bet, depending on how many symbols are on its reel.
Meanwhile, land three Golden Pudding scatters in the base game to win 10 free spins, with an additional two for every scatter beyond the third. Then it’s take-off for Rudolph and his reindeer pals. The first Sleigh sets off with a 1x Sleigh Multiplier, and with each subsequent Sleigh, the multiplier increases by 1, enhancing your Gifts Bonus Prizes as it goes.
By gathering three or more Scatters during your Free Spins, you’ll be gifted four extra Free Spins. And just like before, for every Scatter beyond the third, you’ll receive an extra two Free Spins, ensuring the festivities continue.
Meanwhile, because this is a Megaways slot, there can be up to 117,649 ways to win on each spin, which could make for some potential big wins this Christmas.
Nik Robinson, BTG CEO, said: “We love this time of year because we have a lot of momentum with our annual Christmas slot, and we have sprinkled as much festive fun as we can onto Christmas Catch. And so, on behalf of everyone at BTG, we’d like to wish all slots fans around the world, health, wealth, happiness and prosperity this Christmas season.”
Nicholas Peters, Chief Business Development Officer for Europe at Evolution said: “Christmas-themed slots are becoming a genre unto themselves, but Christmas Catch must be a contender for the best one ever. This is more than just a seasonal gimmick, it’s a seriously good game with the kind of hugely engaging gameplay we’ve come to expect from BTG.”
Tabcorp Appoints New Chief Financial Officer
Tabcorp Holdings has announced the appointment of Mark Howell as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Howell is currently the general manager liquor finance and network optimisation for Coles Group Limited’s liquor business, which trades as Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice Liquor Market.
He has formerly held senior finance, strategy, business development and investor relations roles at Coles, as well as senior banking roles at Rothschild and Goldman Sachs in Australia and New York.
Adam Rytenskild, Managing Director and CEO of Tabcorp, said: “Mark is the perfect fit for Tabcorp as we deliver our transformation. He’s passionate about our growth story and dynamic in his thinking.
“Wagering is one of the most competitive industries in Australia and Mark comes from an equally competitive customer focused industry. His experience leading finance teams at Coles and working closely with investors will be invaluable moving forward.”
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