Australia’s VCGLR cleared by independent investigation

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Australia’s VCGLR cleared by independent investigation


In the southern Australian state of Victoria and an independent investigation has reportedly called for the local government to pass legislation that would explicitly prohibit casinos from partnering with foreign junket firms.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the enquiry being chaired by prominent Australian lawyer Ian Freckelton (pictured) was launched in July after five former members of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) publicly accused the watchdog of having become a lap-dog for Crown Resorts Limited and repeatedly ignoring claims of money laundering at the operators giant Crown Melbourne property.

Explicit exoneration:

However, Freckelton reportedly cleared the VCGLR of corruption earlier today by divulging that he had been unable to find any evidence in support of the past investigators accusations. Nevertheless, the source detailed that the former Nauru Supreme Court Judges 148-page report into the matter did list several recommendations including the ban on junkets, increased probity of high-value players and greater regulatory investment.

Freckeltons findings reportedly read

We have not found any wrongdoing, corruption, unlawfulness, a breach of any laws/regulations or motivations based on improper purposes at the VCGLR based on any part of our investigation.

Junket exclusion:

With regards to junkets and Freckleton reportedly advised that such enterprises be legislatively abolished across Australias most densely populated state with any potential successors to be made subject to the most stringent levels of regulatory scrutiny. In addition, the lawyer purportedly recommended that the VCGLR and Melbourne-headquartered Crown Resorts Limited revise their relationship in order to be better able to access VIP punters via the use of more detailed Internal Control Statements.

The submission from Freckelton reportedly read

There should be a review of the 2020 Internal Control Statements that regulates the casino operators probity assessments of premium players with a view to ensuring a satisfactory level of reliable and accountable evaluation of whether such persons are fit and proper persons and so that the regulator can effectively discharge its regulatory responsibilities over such assessments by the casino operator.

Elevated expenditure:

Finally, Freckelton reportedly advised that the government of Victoria should consider investing further in the resourcing and capabilities of the intelligence and investigation units within the compliance division of the VCGLR and bring in more people to ensure that the regulators casino teams are sufficiently staffed at all times.

Relieved regulator:

In replying to the findings of Freckeltons enquiry and the Chair of the VCGLR, Ross Kennedy, reportedly pronounced that it was comforting to know that the investigation had uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing, corruption or unlawfulness and found the current management of his organization to be dedicated, professional and reflective.’

Reportedly read a statement from Kennedy

The findings of the independent investigation deserve equal prominence with which the original allegations were broadcast. While it is pleasing that the investigation has confirmed the VCGLRs integrity, there are references to historical shortcomings that have been addressed and recommendations for further improvement that are welcomed, consistent with our reform program underway and will be fully implemented.