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INQUIRY INTO BARANGAROO RESTRICTED GAMING FACILITY LICENSEE AND ITS CLOSE ASSOCIATES

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: casino.org
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The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority will conduct an inquiry under the NSW Casino Control Act into the proposed sale of shares in Crown Resorts from James Packer’s CPH Crown Holdings Pty Ltd to Lawrence Ho’s Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, a Hong Kong-based casino operator, through a subsidiary.

The sale was announced in a Crown Resorts/ASX Media Release on 31 May 2019 and has apparently yet to be finalised.

The Authority is inquiring into this transaction under section 35 of the Act together with various matters raised in recent media reports published by the Nine Network, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age relating to Crown Resorts.

The Authority has issued notices to relevant Crown parties and other parties compulsorily seeking documents and information which will assist it in its investigations and be used in the inquiry.

The Authority is to have regard to the primary objects of the Act in exercising its functions.

This includes ensuring that the management and operation of a casino remain free from criminal influence or exploitation, that gaming in a casino is conducted honestly and controlling the potential of a casino to cause harm to the public interest and to individuals and families.

The Authority will appoint the Honourable Patricia Bergin SC to conduct the inquiry.

Ms Naomi Sharp SC and Mr Scott Aspinall will be appointed as counsel assisting the inquiry. Patricia Bergin SC was a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1999 to 2017, serving as Commercial List Judge and thereafter as Chief Judge in Equity from 2009 to January 2017.

Since her retirement from the Court in 2017, Ms Bergin served an International Judge on the Singapore International Commercial Court.

The inquiry will take evidence in public, with the capacity to conduct private hearings to receive confidential information from law enforcement or other sensitive information.

Section 143A of the Act will give Ms Bergin similar powers, authorities, protections and immunities to those conferred upon a commissioner under the Royal Commissions Act 1923 (NSW).

The Terms of Reference and a timetable for public submissions will be published by the Authority shortly and announcements will be made later regarding the processes of the inquiry, including how submissions can be made.

Media contact The Authority has engaged Norton Rose Fulbright solicitors to assist with its conduct of the inquiry.

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Australia

Tabcorp Revenue Declines 5.7% During Three Months to September 2020

Niji Narayan

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Tabcorp Revenue Declines 5.7% During Three Months to September 2020
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Australia’s Tabcorp has reported a 5.7% decline in revenue for the three months to September 2020.

The trading update formed part of an investor presentation at the company’s AGM, with Managing Director and CEO David Attenborough revealing the slight 5.7% decline was mainly felt in its Gaming Services segment which fell 55.2% on the closure of licensed venues. Lotteries and Keno revenue was down 6.9% year-on-year with Wagering and Media down 2.9%.

“The duration and severity of COVID-19 is unclear, however Tabcorp remains well placed with our resilient, diversified earnings base and strengthened balance sheet,” Attenborough said.

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Australia

AUSTRAC Launches Formal Investigation into Crown Melbourne Over AML Concerns

Niji Narayan

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AUSTRAC Launches Formal Investigation into Crown Melbourne Over AML Concerns
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AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial crime watchdog, has launched a formal investigation into potential infringements of the country’s anti-money laundering laws by Crown Resorts.

In a Monday morning filing with the Australian Securities Exchange, Crown revealed that it had been informed of the investigation by AUSTRAC after the authority’s Regulatory Operations branch identified potential non-compliance by Crown Melbourne of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Rules 2007.

The potential non-compliance relates to “ongoing customer due diligence, and adopting, maintain and complying with an anti-money laundering/counter terrorism financing program,” Crown said.

It added that the concerns were identified “in the course of a compliance assessment that commenced in September 2019 and focused on Crown Melbourne’s management of customers identified as high risk and politically exposed persons.”

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Australia

ACMA Moves to Block Two More Illegal Gambling Websites

Niji Narayan

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ACMA Moves to Block Two More Illegal Gambling Websites
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is set to request the Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block two more illegal offshore gambling websites.

The sites to be blocked are Dinkum Pokies and Fortune Clock Casino. Following numerous complaints about these services, including complaints about withholding winnings and poor player treatment, ACMA undertook investigations that found them to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling. Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 150 illegal gambling websites have been blocked.

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