Australian gaming heavyweight, Crown Resorts, has reached an agreement to pay a colossal AU$450m ($293.6m/€274.6m/£237.8m) fine. The penalty, agreed with Australia’s anti-organised crime financial agency, is in response to breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) laws by Crown’s Melbourne and Perth casinos.
Admitting Breaches and Seeking Redemption
Crown’s acceptance of this hefty enforcement action signals the end of a year-long scrutiny process. The gaming firm confessed to operating in breach of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 at both Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth.
The investigation by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), revealed Crown failed to properly assess money laundering and terrorism financing risks. Crown is now enhancing its approach to financial risk management and investing in financial crime compliance, vowing to rectify these oversights.
The Bumpy Road of Crown Resorts
Crown Resorts have weathered many storms recently, including two substantial fines in Victoria. The group was declared unfit to operate in Victoria and Western Australia after local investigations. Despite this, Crown found a lifeline when it was acquired by private equity giant Blackstone for AU$8.87bn in June 2022.
Implications for the iGaming Industry
This landmark case highlights three key implications for the iGaming industry:
- Compliance is Key: AML regulations and guidelines are no longer optional, but a strict necessity. Crown’s penalty underlines the importance of adhering to these regulations and the severe repercussions for not doing so.
- Investor Confidence: While big-name investors, like Blackstone, still show interest in this sector, repeated regulatory failings could affect investor confidence and future funding in the iGaming sector.
- Robust Risk Management Systems: The case reinforces the need for a robust risk management system, ensuring higher-risk customers undergo extensive scrutiny, and the establishment of strong oversight of AML programs by senior management.