The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has taken disciplinary action against Crown Melbourne for improper tax deductions and concealment of information.
The Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence found that Crown improperly claimed tax deductions by including the costs of certain promotional activities as amounts paid out as winnings. The Royal Commission also found that Crown deliberately concealed the nature of these deductions from the VGCCC’s predecessor, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
The true nature of these deductions was only revealed when the Royal Commission noticed a document setting out the quantum of unpaid casino tax among voluminous documents that Crown disclosed to the Royal Commission for other purposes.
Once its conduct was brought to light by the Royal Commission, Crown accepted it had been wrong to claim these tax deductions and has since paid approximately $61.5 million to the State of Victoria comprising unpaid casino tax of about $37.4 million and penalty interest of approximately $24.1 million. On top of this, the VGCCC has imposed a fine of $20 million.
Chairperson Fran Thorn said: “Crown and other gaming licensees have important obligations to pay gaming taxes to the State. Not only did Crown breach its obligations by claiming tax deductions to which it was not entitled, Crown also made significant efforts at concealment.
“The VGCCC will not tolerate this behaviour. We expect licensees to comply with their tax obligations and to be transparent in their dealings with us. We have today imposed a significant fine of $20 million on Crown to send a clear message that this type of conduct will be met with strong disciplinary action. This fine also sends an important message to other gambling operators about the importance of complying with their obligations to pay gambling taxes and the need for frank and open dealings with the regulator.”