Victoria Adds New Crown Fine And Launches New Vgccc

It didn’t take long at all. And it’s not the first fine in this matter. The Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation found so many violations by Crown Resorts pertaining to its junket connections that it fined the company another $1M. And the VCGLR even requested that the legislature raise the cap for penalties. Legislators raised it from $1M to $100M in light of the Crown Resorts scandal and the continued fallout from it.

With all of that left in 2021, the regulator decided to launch a new regulatory entity, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission. That started on 1 January 2022.

First Fine in 2021

The Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation – VCGLR for short – initially fined Crown Casino $1M in April 2021. It was the maximum fine allowed at the time. VCGLR issued it in response to Crown’s breach of regulatory obligations, specifically for failing to properly scrutinize high-stakes players and junket operators. Some were found to have connections to organized crime, as unearthed by the media investigation that started it all in 2019.

The VCGLR issued that $1M fine due to the serious violations in the middle of its investigation, one that had yet to even be completed. The official commission statement nine months ago stated:

“The commission concluded that in respect to the analysed individuals, the processes implemented by Crown were not robust. … This failure meant it was unclear how certain decisions were reached by Crown and whether such decisions were made with due regard to Crown’s regulatory obligations.”

Official Report in 2021

In October, Commissioner Ray Finkelstein submitted the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and License Report. The 652-page, three-volume report contained conclusions and recommendations. It was a damning report that found Crown Melbourne in regular violation of the Casino Control Act and the Casino Management Agreement Act.

After that report and the VCGLR’s examination of it, the regulator informed Crown of many recommendations and requirements to keep its gaming license. During that time, the VCGLR discovered that Crown had maintained contact with a junket operator – an unsuitable one, in fact – despite vowing to discontinue all junket activities. For that, the regulator wanted to issue another fine. However, the law’s maximum of $1M forbade it.

So, the Victorian government amended the law to increase the maximum fine to $100M. By mid-December, Victoria did issue that additional $1M fine.

VGCCC Begins

As of 1 January 2022, the VCGLR became the VGCCC, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission. For now, it will function exactly as did the VCGLR. However, the government is in the process of transferring liquor regulation responsibilities to the Department of Justice and Community Safety. They expect that transition later in 2022.

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation pledged to work closely with the VGCCC, especially with regard to implementing the recommendations in the aforementioned Commission report.

For now, the VGCCC will oversee all gambling activities, with a dedicated casino division coming into play this year. Per the Victorian government, the combination of liquor and gambling for one regulator was a “failed experiment.”

Acting CEO Scott May will aid in the transition for Fran Thorn, who was the Secretary of the Department of Health but will be the inaugural Chairperson of the new VGCCC. She will serve for three years from 1 January 2022. She will be the primary person to establish the framework that will help segregate various regulatory responsibilities. Going forward, the new setup should more ably monitor casino activities.

Victoria should be releasing more information about changes – both in framework and focus – in the coming weeks and months. At this point, the verbiage on the VCGLR website remains as it was prior to the new year. No changes are yet visible to the public.

 

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.