Recent allegations against Crown Resorts regarding preferential treatment to Chinese gamblers regarding fast-tracking visas has caused officials in Australia to begin an investigation into the company. Attorney General, Christian Porter, has alerted parliament that a probe will take place against Crown after several reports surfaced within the media regarding expedited visas for gamblers from China, along with other allegations.
Many reports surfaced over the past few days claiming that Crown Resorts hired travel agents with connections to drug traffickers to bring gamblers from China to Australia. The operator has been accused of laundering money at its casinos and expediting the visas for the Chinese gamblers.
The Attorney General has sent the allegations against government officials to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity for further investigation. The group works in anti-corruption and are responsible for the investigation of federal agencies. They will decide if the allegations require an investigation.
Porter commented on the allegations by stating: “It is my view that there are sufficient concerns raised at least to warrant further investigations.”
Crown Resorts has rejected the allegations made by media reports and parliament. The company has however, stated that they will assist with any investigation. A spokeswoman for Crown stated that they believe the allegations are ‘ill-informed and an attempt to smear the company.’
Porter stated that if the Australian Commission does not believe the allegations require an investigation, then the agency will have to provide him with insight as to why they reached that conclusion. Once the information is received, the AG will make the conclusion public.
In Australia, the venues of Crown Resorts have been losing revenues due to wealthy Asian gamblers avoiding foreign casinos due to a crackdown by Chinese authorities. In late 2018, the Crown Perth property say a huge decrease in baccarat revenues. The annual totals for the company were down by 57%, mainly due to gamblers from China not visiting the property.
The latest allegations have caused Crown shares to drop by 3.6% and may further cause harm if players are worried about doing business with the brand.