Crown Resorts has revealed that it is being investigated for potential breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
The Australian casino operator was contacted by Australia’s financial crime regulator last week and could face millions of dollars in fines if found guilty.
Crown, which has casinos in Melbourne and Perth could also lose its casino licenses.
Crown is also planning to open a third casino in Sydney. However, the company is already facing separate inquiries into licensing and concerns related to its management of high risk and politically exposes persons. The casinos high-roller rooms have come under heavy scrutiny.
Australian casinos attract a lot of attention from high roller casino players from Asia – China in particular. Chinese high-roller players often use Macao and Australia to fulfil their gambling needs.
Gambling, poker especially, remains extremely popular in Australia. Crown Resort’s Melbourne casino plays host to the largest annual poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere – The Aussie Millions.
The Aussie Million attracts the best poker players from all over the world and is Crown’s showpiece gambling event. This year’s main event took place in January with Australian poker player Vincent Wan winning the trophy. Fellow Aussie Kahle Burns won the high-roller main event.
Online Gambling in Australia
The Australian online gambling arena is a grey area, although it is not illegal for Australian casino players to partake in games of chance online. It remains to be seen whether the Australian government will begin issuing licenses to online casinos to be able to operate and advertise to Australian players.
More Aussies are playing online due to the ease it offers – there is certainly a profit to be made for the Australian government if it decides to explore the regulation of online gambling in the country.
As it stands, online operators offering games of chance to Australian citizens are not allowed to advertise themselves. As aforementioned, it is not illegal for Australians to gamble online, but it is certainly a complicated area. iGaming operators expect the Australian government to legalise and regulate online casino gambling in the country at some point in the future.
Another country which has successfully regulated their online gambling market includes the United Kingdom. The UK gambling industry has generated billions of pounds through online gambling regulation. The UK government takes a minimum of 15% tax on gambling related enterprises. The most profitable gambling companies can pay upwards to 50% tax on their profits in the UK.
Land-based casinos in Australia remain the venue of choice for Australian and Asian high high-rollers, as it stands.
Crown Resorts stated that it would co-operate fully with the investigation. Crown is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. When the news broke earlier this week in relation to the money laundering breaches, shares in the company dropped by as much as 9%.