Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has rebuffed criticism that the government took too long to accelerate its next major review of Crown Melbourne’s casino license.
A dedicated commissioner to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) will be appointed to investigate Crown’s suitability to hold the only casino license in the state.
Andrews said he did not accept the government’s response that the review was delayed.
The criticism came as the damning findings emerged from the NSW investigation a month ago.
“We believe that given the admissions that have been made through another process and given the significant public concerns about these issues … we believe that now is the right time,” he said.
“I hope that after that painstaking work is completed, some of the issues that have been raised can be explained and that we can have confidence that the largest single site employer in the state, Crown Casino, is run with the highest standards “.
ILGA’s investigation is due to broadcast its findings in February 2021.
Games Minister Melissa Horne said today that an immediate response is needed in Victoria, given the “troubling evidence” revealed throughout the NSW investigation.
“This review is necessary given the evidence that we have seen emerging from the NSW research,” he said.
“While we await the findings of that investigation, it is appropriate to advance the next review to ensure Crown Melbourne is fit for a license in Victoria.”
The VCGLR must review the suitability of Crown’s casino license at intervals not to exceed five years, per section 25 of the Casino Control Act 1991.
The most recent investigation, the Sixth Casino Review, occurred in 2018.
A commissioner is expected to be named shortly, who will report his findings to Ms. Horne next year.
Ms. Horne said the government would take any appropriate and necessary action upon completion of the investigation.
“We ensure that Crown Melbourne conducts its business in a transparent and proper manner.”
In a statement, Crown said it has been actively engaged with the VCGLR on the issues that are the subject of the ILGA Investigation, including its reform agenda.
“Crown will continue to work cooperatively with the VCGLR to support this review,” the statement read.