Following the series of fines imposed to the Australian casino operator Crown Melbourne over the last two years, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) now holds the operator responsible for the extended failure to pay the proper amounts of gambling tax. According to Inside Asian Gaming, Crown Melbourne is therefore obliged to pay AU$20 million (US$13.6 million) to the regulator and increase the financial penalty records to currently settle at the AU$ 250 million level (US$172 million).
Aggregated Penalty Amounts:
However, the amount payable by Crown Melbourne to the Victorian regulator is added on the AU$450 million (US$293 million) fine recently imposed by AUSTRAC, the governmental financial crime monitoring body, for the Crown’s extended non-compliant operations causing the fine and the gaming license suitability considerations.
Wrong Tax Deduction Claims:
The latest fine was reportedly charged by the VGCCC for the Crown’s tax deductions having been improperly claimed. The source reports that the operator claimed tax deductions of certain costs of promotional activities by displaying these as the amounts paid to customers as winnings. The VGCCC reportedly referred to these finding of the Royal Commission and claimed that the operator concealed the nature of these deductions.
Inside Asian Gaming reports that the Royal Commission used the operator’s document indicating the amount of the unpaid casino tax among a set of Crown’s documents served to the Royal Commission for other purposes.
The company accepted the responsibility for the wrong tax deduction claims and paid around AU$61.5 million (US$42.3 million) to the State of Victoria including the unpaid casino tax of approximately AU$37.4 million (US$25.7 million) increased by penalty interest of about AU$24.1 million (US$16.6 million). The AU$20 million fine represents an additional action arising out of the subsequent tax deduction examinations carried out by the regulator.
The VGCCC Chairperson Fran Thorn reportedly said: “Crown and other gaming licensees have important obligations to pay gaming taxes to the state. Not only did Crown breach its obligations by claiming tax deductions to which it was not entitled, Crown also made significant efforts at concealment.”
Regulator’s Zero Tolerance:
Thorn added: “The VGCCC will not tolerate this behavior. We expect licensees to comply with their tax obligations and to be transparent in their dealings with us. We have today imposed a significant fine of AU$20 million on Crown to send a clear message that this type of conduct will be met with strong disciplinary action. This fine also sends an important message to other gambling operators about the importance of complying with their obligations to pay gambling taxes and the need for frank and open dealings with the regulator.”
Series of Operator’s Failures:
Inside Asian Gaming also reports that the list of Crown’s penalties include a AU$30 million (US$20.6 million) fine for illegal banking practices, AU$120 million (US$85.5 million) fine for failures to comply with responsible gambling procedures, as well as a AU$80 million (US$55.0 million) financial penalty for illegal utilization of the China UnionPay cards.