Crown cuts ties with unlicensed junket operators

Crown cuts ties with unlicensed junket operators

Casino and resort operator Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN) will permanently cease dealing with all unlicensed junket operators following an internal review of its systems and structures.

The company flagged back in October it would be suspending relationships with junket operators until June next year, but has today clarified its position as for the long term.

Crown says it will only recommence dealing with junket operators if they are licensed or approved by gaming regulators in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

The issue of Crown's dealings came to light during an Inquiry into the company where it was alleged certain junket operators had links to organised crime.

In the wake of the revelations, Crown chairman Helen Coonan said the casino would only recommence contact with junket operators following consultation with regulators.

"Should we decide to work with junkets again, we will only do so after extensive consultation with regulators regarding significantly enhanced due diligence processes," Coonan said.

"These processes would incorporate all the recommendations of a recent review conducted by Deloitte, as well as lessons learned from the Inquiry and interactions with other regulators.

"All of these reforms to strengthen accountability and transparency, uphold a uniform culture of compliance, proactively assess and address money laundering risks, and protect Crown from criminal elements are just the first steps."

Those statements came alongside a lengthy apology from the chairman regarding the resort and casino operators' numerous failures uncovered by the Inquiry.

Coonan said the company is currently implementing an agenda of reform, which should address many of the concerns raised by the Independent Inquiry.

The reform agenda will be categorised into four key areas: accountability, compliance, money laundering risks, and company structure.

In order to facilitate these reforms Coonan said Crown will establish a new Compliance and Financial Crimes department, which will be fully independent from any commercial or revenue considerations.

The Inquiry is due to report its findings by 1 February 2021.

Shares in Crown are up 1.99 per cent to $9.74 per share at 1.16pm AEDT.

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