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Crown Resorts Aus operations are under scrutiny

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Crown Resorts Aus operations are under scrutiny

The inner workings of an Australian casino company’s efforts to evade China’s currency controls and ban on gambling promotion have been laid bare in a public inquiry in Sydney.

Crown Resorts staff inside China were told to work from home to evade scrutiny as they lured wealthy gamblers to company hotels in Australia with gifts, trips on private jets and help with quick visa approvals.

The inquiry’s extensive terms of reference include whether Crown breached gambling laws, engaged in money-laundering and partnered with tour operators with links to drug traffickers, money launderers, human traffickers and organized crime groups.

The inquiry has heard evidence that Crown partnered with triad-linked tour operators, known as junkets, to lure the high-rollers. The key was Macau, the only part of China where casinos are allowed.

Claims about Crown’s links to triad gangs and junkets with connections to sex trafficking, money-laundering and drugs are not new. 

An investigation by Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers and the television program 60 Minutes in 2019 cited leaked company documents alleging that top executives in the company knew of the malpractices.

However, Crown issued vigorous denials of wrongdoing to the Australian Stock Exchange and in newspaper advertisements in which it said it was setting the record straight in the face of a deceitful campaign.

Crown’s aggressive push to lure high-roller gamblers from China was a high-risk, high-reward strategy.

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