Crown Melbourne Could Face A $100 Million Fine Over Chinese Bank Card Scheme

The Crown Melbourne is in hot water after participating in an arrangement that allowed funds to be illegally transferred from China.

Victoria’s Gambling and Casino Control Commission have launched disciplinary proceedings against the Crown Melbourne over claims the casino developed a system to evade Chinese currency restrictions to allow for the illegal transfer of money.

If found guilty, Crown Melbourne could face up to $100 million in fines.

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According to Commission chairperson Fran Thorn, the commission is expected to prove that Crown Melbourne breached “regulatory obligations”. 

“As a first step, we are acting on the Royal Commission’s findings that Crown’s China Union Pay process breached important Victorian regulatory obligations, was illegal and constituted serious misconduct,” she said.

The Royal Commission believes the Crown Melbourne enabled international visitors to access money in order to gamble at the casino using the Chinese bank card.

The breach is said to have occurred between 2012 and 2016.

During that time, Chinese visitors were barred from moving over a US $50,000 annually to other jurisdictions.

According to the commission, Crown Melbourne supplied room charges to Chinese nationals to make it appear as though the hotel had provided the guest with a service.

The guest would then use the Chinese bank card to pay the room charge and would then be issued with a receipt which could then be taken to the casino’s cage where they could exchange it for chips or money.

A Crown Melbourne spokesperson issued a statement addressing the disciplinary action and taking responsibility for its “failings”. 

“Crown has acknowledged the seriousness of its failings in engaging in the China Union Pay practice which we ceased in 2016,” the statement read.

“Crown is currently reviewing the notice and will be working cooperatively with the (regulator) to close out this and all other outstanding matters stemming from the report of the Victorian Royal Commission.”

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