Victoria’s royal commission into Crown Resorts will go further than the New South Wales (NSW) inquiry, according to former judge Ray Finkelstein, who added that delays in producing documents will not be tolerated.
The first day of the inquiry heard the commission was awaiting responses from Crown on whether it had breached its legal obligations. The commission has been established after the NSW inquiry found the operator not suitable to hold a NSW casino licence.
On the first day of the probe into Crown’s suitability to hold a licence in Victoria, Finkelstein explained he had written two letters to the operator, firstly seeking its response to the Bergin inquiry, and secondly to assess whether it had broken rules in Victoria.
Crown responded to the first by disagreeing with the Bergin inquiry’s findings, but Finkelstein is yet to receive a response to the second, saying: «I’m concerned that unless the seriousness of the conduct is recognised, any steps taken to remedy the position might only be half-hearted of them.”
The commission places the management of gambling addiction front and centre, despite not being directly in its terms of reference, with Finkelstein explaining that around 300,000 Australians have a gambling problem.
“The impact of this problem gambling is widespread — it affects not only the gambler, but the gambler’s family, employers and unrelated third parties,” added Finkelstein.