FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed

March 24, 2022

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A powerful government-ordered inquiry has found Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd unfit for a gambling licence in the state of Western Australia, the state’s racing and gaming minister said on Thursday.

“The royal commission found that the Crown entities are presently not suitable to continue to hold a gaming licence for the Perth Casino,” Western Australia gaming minister Tony Buti told reporters.

Buti added that the inquiry had recommended that Crown continue operating under the supervision of a government-appointed monitor for two years, rather than have its licence revoked.

The finding that Crown is unfit for its licence is in line with previous inquiries in the two other states where the company founded by billionaire James Packer has casinos.

The state where Crown has its biggest-earning resort, Victoria, also recommended letting the company continue under supervision despite declaring it unsuitable for a licence.

A similar finding in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, resulted in Crown having its licence suspended just before it opened a A$2.2 billion ($1.65 billion) resort on the Sydney waterfront in December 2020. It remains suspended.

The inquiries were triggered after a series of media reports in 2019 accused the company of knowingly dealing with foreign tour operators with ties to organised crime and turning a blind eye to money laundering.

Crown initially took out full-page newspaper advertisements to deny the allegations but acknowledged they were largely true during hearings.

Crown in a statement on Thursday acknowledged the Western Australian inquiry’s recommendations and said it would “work cooperatively and constructively with the Western Australian government” to satisfy them.

($1 = 1.3348 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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