WA entertains the idea of its own Crown Resorts inquiry
Allegations of money laundering at Crown’s Perth and Melbourne casinos has prompted the West Australian government to launch its own judicial enquiry into the casino giant.
The West reports that the state’s casino regulatory has stood aside after questions were raised about his friendships with Crown staff.
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries deputy director-general Michael Connolly has stood down from his role as chief casino officer.
The department’s director-general Duncan Ord said Mr Connolly had fully declared any potential or perceived conflict of interest arising from having taken Crown employees fishing on his trailer boat.
“The people Mr Connolly took fishing did not fit into the senior management category, they were not and are not part of the executive or senior level of management,” Mr Ord said.
“The nature of the relationship is one of being friends for an extended period.”
Premier Mark McGowan said he was disappointed that the department had allowed the social relationship to continue.
WA’s state solicitor will provide feedback on the NSW inquiry into the Gaming and Wagering Commission at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
Mr McGowan said his government would consider following the lead of NSW and pursuing its own judicial inquiry if re-elected at the March 13 poll.
“If I get evidence that requires that, we certainly will if the government is re-elected,” he said.
“Unlawful casino behaviour is clearly unacceptable. If we need to take stern action, we will.”
In a report to the NSW gaming authority, Independent Commissioner Patricia Bergin found Crown, which allegedly facilitated money laundering for at least five years, was not fit to run its Sydney casino.
Mr McGowan said he hoped for a cooperative response between the states involved.
“If there can be a national approach to this, I think it’s far better,” he said.
“Crown employees in the vicinity of 20,000 Australians. We need to make sure we stamp out illegality but we keep people employed.”
Brawl erupts at Crown Perth as party buses implicated
A fight broke out in the car park at Crown’s Perth casino last Saturday night, with as many as 70 people involved in the affray.
9News reported in January that people were seen standing on cars as security guards appeared to watch on.
Injuries ranged from black eyes, to broken bones and bleeding on the brain, all in front of young children.
“The kids saw their dads getting pulled into this group and beaten so they were absolutely distraught,” a witness said.
A newly married couple, who did not want their faces shown, said they were on tour buses with their wedding guests when they were ambushed.
“It was horrendous, there were people on the ground getting kicked, their heads stomped, it was disgusting.”
Multiple cars were trashed, with mirrors snapped off and used as weapons.
“IT appears that both groups arrived intoxicated, both were alleged to be on these so-called party buses,” WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said.
On Sunday, WA’s top cop called for a crack down on the party bus industry.
“Those operators, I am putting you straight on notice right now,” Dawson said.
“If you’re going to continue operating these businesses in this way, you’ll find there is a police car following you and your patrons will get very strong police action.”
He’s pushing for party bus operators and their drivers to be liable for criminal charges.
“I’m not trying to be anti-party but this is violence, this is not partying,” he said.