Crown Resorts Overhauls Deposit Rules for Gamblers, as Crown Sydney Opens

Posted on: December 28, 2020, 06:14h. 

Last updated on: December 28, 2020, 06:24h.

Crown Resorts is amending how its whales make deposits to gamble, the latest effort by the Australian casino group to improve its poor reputation in preventing money laundering.

Crown Resorts Sydney casino Australia
Crown Sydney opened its hotel this week, but the casino remains on hold. Meanwhile, Crown Resorts is changing how players deposit casino funds at its properties in Melbourne and Perth. (Image: Brisbane Times)

Effective immediately, patrons will no longer be permitted to make deposits from trusts of business accounts. Only personal bank accounts will be accepted.

Crown is also doing away with allowing gamblers to first make deposits into accounts owned by the casino operator.

Southbank Investments and Riverbank Investments, two banking entities owned by Crown, were designed to provide gamblers privacy. Guests would deposit into Southbank and Riverbank, and Crown would issue them casino chips in the same amount.

The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) concluded its investigation into Crown Resorts in October. The probe was to determine whether the casino company is suitable to hold a gaming license in the Australian state.

Former NSW Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin is set to issue a verdict on that matter by February 1. In the meantime, Crown is doing everything it can to assure government officials that it is committed to preventing its casinos from being used to launder money.

The deposit changes impact Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth. Crown Resorts appointed its first chief financial crimes officer earlier this month.

Sydney Opens

The ILGA review is in relation to Crown Sydney, a AUD$2.4 billion (USD$1.8 billion) integrated resort that was designed with a VIP casino. The 75-story casino, hotel, entertainment, and residential complex opened today, but without gaming.

“Sydney is one of the world’s great cities, and it deserves a great hotel,” said Crown Sydney CEO Peter Crinis in a statement announcing its opening. “We are excited to open the doors and let Sydney experience it.”

Despite no casino, the Crown Sydney is commanding steep rates. An online search found base rooms going for upwards of AUD$1000 (USD$760) per night.

Crown Sydney was permitted to open its hotel and restaurants after it was issued a non-gaming liquor license by the ILGA. The permit is valid through April 30, 2021.

“Crown will be required to re-apply for a liquor license for the period from May 1, 2021, which will enable ILGA to consider any suitability concerns arising from the ILGA Inquiry before deciding on an extension to the liquor license,” a Crown Resorts notification read.

Too Little, Too Late

Crown critics were quick to weigh in on the company modifying how gamblers can deposit funds with the casino.

These belated measures are an obvious admission that they have broken the law,” opined Reverend Tim Costello to The Sydney Morning Herald. “Crown has acted with impunity and arrogance for years. But now they are desperate to prove to the Victorian regulator that they are a fit and proper organization to hold a license.”

Naomi Sharp, the legal counsel for the ILGA, told the panel that she believes Crown is unsuitable to conduct gaming operations in Sydney. This week she called the casino’s deposit protocol changes “too little, too late.”