Regulator warns Crown on overseas projects


The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has warned Crown Ltd. that it will be “monitoring current and future investments closely, including Melco Crown’s investment in the Philippines and any possible Crown Group investment in Sri Lanka” for compliance with anti-corruption laws in its five-year review of the operator’s suitability to operate the Crown Casino in Melbourne, its largest property. The regulator added it “remains cautious about Crown Ltd.’s expansion into countries with public sector governance challenges.”

In its formal recommendations, the commission asked Crown to review and report on the independence of auditor Ernst & Young within six months given that it has also been paying high fees to the firm for other services. It said it is “concerned that the casino operator may not be effectively preventing persons subject to exclusion orders from entering the VIP gaming areas in the Melbourne casino and asked Crown to begin a trial of facial recognition technology there. It also asked the company to improve communications of game rules and conduct a trial of data analysis tools to identify possible problem gamblers within 18 months. It said the company should formally review responsible gambling issues at the local level instead of just at a board level. The review said 3,000 crimes had been detected at the Crown Casino over the past three years and noted a concern with loan sharking.