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Inquiry called into Crown Perth after damning NSW report

Gareth Parker
Article image for Inquiry called into Crown Perth after damning NSW report

WA’s casino watchdog has recommended an independent inquiry into Crown Perth.

The Gaming and Wagering Commission met yesterday afternoon to discuss the findings of the Bergin report.

The inquiry, which was based in New South Wales, found Crown Resorts facilitated money laundering through its Perth and Melbourne operations.

The watchdog has recommended an inquiry into the suitability of Crown Perth to operate a casino license in WA.

It also wants the inquiry to look into its own conflicts of interest in light of revelations WA’s chief casino officer Michael Connolly had social relationships with senior members of Crown’s legal and compliance team.

Mr Connolly stood down on Friday, after questions were raised by 6PR’s Gareth Parker about the relationship, which included regular fishing trips on his boat.

Speaking to 6PR Breakfast this morning, Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said Mr Connolly voluntarily stood aside to avoid perception of conflict of interest.

“There is no indication that there were any compromises of any matters during that time,” he said.

The Commission will move to ban junkets at Crown from as early as next week and will also require the casino to obtain approval before establishing gaming bank accounts.

The Racing and Gaming Minister said he wants to reassure employees of Crown Perth the casino won’t be losing it’s gaming license while the inquiry takes place.

“There is no imminent threat from money laundering that were identified in the Bergin enquiry,” he said.

“The mass volume gambling that takes place on the floor of the casino, that employs thousands of Western Australians, was not identified as a threat and a risk.

“We will wait for the inquiry, they will make recommendations and we will act upon the recommendations.”

The inquiry is expected to take at least four months to complete.

“We have been recommended by the state solicitor that two individuals undertake the inquiry, because of the complexity of the inquiry,” Minister Papalia said.

Click play to hear the full interview. 

(Photo: James D. Morgan/ Getty Images.)

Gareth Parker
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