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VGCCC Fines Crown Melbourne AU$20M for Breaching Casino Tax Obligations

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has taken disciplinary action against Crown Melbourne for improper tax deductions and concealment of information.

The Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence found that Crown improperly claimed tax deductions by including the costs of certain promotional activities as amounts paid out as winnings. The Royal Commission also found that Crown deliberately concealed the nature of these deductions from the VGCCC’s predecessor, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

The true nature of these deductions was only revealed when the Royal Commission noticed a document setting out the quantum of unpaid casino tax among voluminous documents that Crown disclosed to the Royal Commission for other purposes.

Once its conduct was brought to light by the Royal Commission, Crown accepted it had been wrong to claim these tax deductions and has since paid approximately $61.5 million to the State of Victoria comprising unpaid casino tax of about $37.4 million and penalty interest of approximately $24.1 million. On top of this, the VGCCC has imposed a fine of $20 million.

Chairperson Fran Thorn said: “Crown and other gaming licensees have important obligations to pay gaming taxes to the State. Not only did Crown breach its obligations by claiming tax deductions to which it was not entitled, Crown also made significant efforts at concealment.

“The VGCCC will not tolerate this behaviour. We expect licensees to comply with their tax obligations and to be transparent in their dealings with us. We have today imposed a significant fine of $20 million on Crown to send a clear message that this type of conduct will be met with strong disciplinary action. This fine also sends an important message to other gambling operators about the importance of complying with their obligations to pay gambling taxes and the need for frank and open dealings with the regulator.”

Australia

PointsBet Appoints Daniel Lucas as Group Chief Technology Officer

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PointsBet Holdings Limited announced the appointment of Daniel Lucas as Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO), effective 1 September 2024. Daniel will replace current Group CTO, US-based Jerry Bowskill, who will step down following completion of the sale of the US Business to Fanatics Betting and Gaming.

Daniel is serving out his current role as Global Director of Trading Technology at Flutter Entertainment Plc, leading the global trading technology operation and service across the Flutter Group (including Fanduel, Sportsbet, Paddypower, Betfair, Pokerstars and Skybet). Currently based in the UK, Daniel will relocate to Melbourne to take up his new role.

Prior to his global role at Flutter, Daniel held several senior positions at Sportsbet based in Melbourne, including Head of Data Solutions and Head of Trading Technology, which followed roles in the investment banking sector in London.

Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) and a Master of Business Systems from Monash University.

Sam Swanell, Chief Executive Officer of the PointsBet Group, said: “We are very pleased that a Senior Executive of Dan’s quality and experience is joining PointsBet. Dan’s understanding of complex platform and trading operations, in particular algorithmic trading, risk and advanced analytics together with his strong people leadership skills, are valuable assets to PointsBet’s Australian and Canadian operations, as we continue to invest in our market leading live betting and multi capability through Odds Factory.”

“I am super excited about the opportunity to join a technology and product led company like PointsBet. They continue to invest in their platforms and there are exciting growth opportunities ahead,” Daniel Lucas said.

“Jerry Bowskill has made an outstanding contribution to PointsBet over his tenure leading our global technology organisation. He has been an integral part of the group executive leadership team, and his experience and expertise has proven invaluable as we have planned for and executed the transition of our United States business to Fanatics. I would like to thank Jerry for all he has done for PointsBet and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Sam Swanell said.

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Australia

Supercars Partners with Dabble

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Supercars has entered into a partnership with Dabble, an Australian betting operator with a social-first sports betting app. Dabble will become the Official and Exclusive Wagering Partner of the Repco Supercars Championship.

The new partnership solidifies Dabble’s commitment to the sports betting landscape, offering a unique platform that combines the thrill of sports wagering with social interaction.

Jamie Black, General Manager of Commercial at Supercars, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Dabble to the Supercars family as our Official and Exclusive Sports Wagering Partner.

“Dabble’s innovative approach to sports betting aligns perfectly with our vision of engaging fans and creating memorable experiences.

“Together, we look forward to delivering exciting content and enhancing the fan experience across what promises to be a thrilling 2024 championship.”

Dabble allows users to view and copy bets made by friends, ex-athletes and other users, and the “Banter” chat feature allows the community to engage on a particular sport or event in real-time.

Tom Rundle, CEO of Dabble, said: “Joining forces with Supercars represents an incredible opportunity for Dabble to connect with a passionate fanbase and further establish ourselves as a leading player in the sports wagering industry.

“We’re excited to introduce Supercars fans to the Dabble community and provide them with a unique and immersive betting experience.

“Along with industry-leading social capabilities, Dabble prides itself on its fast withdrawals feature and being one of the fastest apps on the sports betting market. It is only natural for us to partner with the fastest sport in Australia, making the perfect match for the adrenaline-fueled world of Supercars.”

The Supercars and Dabble partnership has already kicked off, with markets now open for the Thrifty Bathurst 500.

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Australia

Star Entertainment Announces Jobs Guarantee & Cashless Gaming Trial Agreements in NSW

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The Star Entertainment Group Limited (The Star) announced that it has entered into binding documentation to give effect to the previously announced aspects of the arrangements agreed in principle with the NSW Treasurer, The Honourable Daniel Mookhey MLC, in connection with the revised duty arrangements in NSW, namely a jobs commitment and the cashless and carded play trial in respect of The Star Sydney casino.

NSW Jobs Guarantee

Consistent with the in-principle agreement first announced on 11 August 2023, The Star has entered into a Jobs Guarantee Agreement with the State of NSW and the United Workers Union whereby The Star has agreed to maintain a minimum headcount, and certain ratios of full-time, part-time and casual employees, in respect of The Star Sydney casino until 30 June 2030. The jobs commitment is subject to certain permitted adjustments in certain circumstances (including for force majeure and material adverse change events) following consultation with the NSW government and the United Workers Union.

Following amendments to the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW) in December 2023, certain penalties can apply to The Star for failing to comply with the jobs commitment. A copy of the Jobs Guarantee Agreement must be tabled in NSW Parliament within 10 business days following entry into the agreement.

Cashless and Carded Play Trial

The Star has also entered into documentation to give effect to a formal trial of cashless and carded play at The Star Sydney casino.

The trial is a precursor to reforms to the NSW regulatory framework which will see cashless gaming and carded play introduced to NSW casinos from August 2024.

Subject to the receipt of final regulatory approvals, the trial will apply to 51 poker machines and 8 table games within the “Sovereign Room” at The Star Sydney casino until the regulatory framework comes into effect.

The Star’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Robbie Cooke, said: “The Star appreciates the constructive engagement with the current NSW Government that has led to finalisation of an agreement that provides employment certainty for our dedicated and hard-working team members in Sydney. As we continue to focus on earning back the trust of the community and implementing the reforms required to restore The Star to suitability, we are also committed to the continuation of our role as a valuable contributor to the NSW economy.”

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