Melbourne’s Crown Casino Linked to China Corruption Scandal
The Crown Casino, which is based in the city of Melbourne, may be one of the largest land-based gambling establishments in Australia, but it has recently been linked to a corruption scandal that also encapsulates the Australian consulate officials in China. While most casinos would like to be renowned for their ability to provide a fun location for avid gamers to satisfy their betting needs, the Crown Casino could end up being known for such controversy instead. With accusations of money laundering being aimed at it, that’s not the kind of story that most casinos would welcome.
Yet, this story can be considered bigger than others involving such scandals, due to the fact that it really takes aim at the same people who have worked quite tirelessly to ban online poker and other forms of gambling in Australia. Their own morals and honesty are now being called into question as part of the latest allegations.
It was a collaborative effort by three different media companies – 60 Minutes Australia, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald – that saw them all investigate the Crown and bring the brand’s misdeeds to the surface as of July 2019. Putting together a video that was exposed on the 60 Minutes YouTube channel with the title of “Crown Unmasked”, the exposure brought to light accusations of sex trafficking, drugs and money laundering against the casino.
What Exactly Were the Accusations Against Crown?
Perhaps one of the biggest allegations that was made against Crown Resorts (the owner of Crown Casino), was that it used Australian consulate officials based in China to bring high-stakes gamblers into the establishment. This was supposedly done by fast-tracking their visa applications when it was understood that they had plenty of money to use on gambling. Yet, this was just the first accusation put against Crown.
It was also stated that the company was so obsessed with wanting to attract wealthy clients from China, that it went on to deal with organised crime and outrightly broke Chinese law relating to the promotion of gambling. As it happens, Crown saw 19 of its employees arrested just a few years ago for such an offense.
Alongside this, some of the high rollers that had taken to gambling in the Crown Casino had also utilised the company’s assistance in transferring large sums of money around illegally, which can pretty much be determined as money laundering. And when you also consider that charges have been brought against Crown stating that it did business with human traffickers to bring sex workers in as a way of entertaining the big spenders, controversy doesn’t even seem to be a strong enough word for everything.
Damage Control in Place
It’s only natural for such negative press to warrant some sort of damage control from Crown, which is exactly what certain people did. The biggest shareholder of Crown (and a member of one of the country’s richest families) James Packer, went on to release a statement through his lawyer, which appeared to look like he was distancing himself from the accusations against the gambling operator. Packer would not admit any sort of guilt or association with the allegations via his statement, and he instead chose to claim that he was not a part of the Crown management group when the supposed dealings occurred.
Crown Resorts also wrote a message relating to the accusations, running a full-page spread in various prominent media outlets as of July 31. It titled the advertisement as “Setting the record straight in the face of a deceitful campaign against Crown”. That same spread would go on to outline each of the accusations made against it, denying them point to point.
Yet, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald outrightly refused to run the advertisement from Crown, instead opting to publish refutations of each criticism that Crown had run against the media in its publication.
Attorney General for Australia, Christian Porter made a statement that he was determined to uncover all details of the accusations made against Crown. Porter would speak before Parliament on July 30, saying that it is necessary for strong integrity and professional standards culture to be in place, so that the public holds confidence in the Australian Government’s work. He went on to say that there had been sufficient concerns raised to necessitate additional investigations into Crown Resorts.