The commission said it was also considering further penalties against Crown related to wrongdoing uncovered during the royal commission, which, as with inquiries in NSW and Western Australia, found Crown was unfit to hold its casino licence.
The casino group still faces a blockbuster fine which could run to the hundreds of millions of dollars from the financial crimes watchdog, AUSTRAC, which has alleged Crown took $1 billion in revenue from “high-risk” VIP customers, including some with known criminal links.
Crown’s regulatory pain comes as a takeover by the New York-based private equity firm Blackstone reaches its final stages. Shareholders, including major investor James Packer, voted to accept the $8.9 billion deal on May 20. Blackstone still needs final approval from state gambling regulators before it gets the keys to Crown’s casinos in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
The commission said Crown had admitted the UnionPay process was illegal and unacceptable, that it considered the casino’s contrition when deciding on the size of the fine.
However, the watchdog added that during the disciplinary proceedings it became aware that the casino used “other mechanisms” enabling credit card transactions after 2016, which it was now investigating. Crown believes the new transactions were legal.
A public inquiry into Crown’s main rival, the Star Entertainment Group, heard earlier this year that it also used the UnionPay scam to process $900 million of transaction at its Sydney casino, in possible breach of NSW gambling rules.
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