Melco International Settles Litigation with Regulator
Melco International Development Ltd has announced that it has reached a settlement with the regulator of the Australian state of New South Wales, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA). The parent company of Melco Resorts & Entertainment was involved in a number of cases due to different violations in the Australian state. The agreement follows the recently published interim report for the first six months of 2023.
In 2021, the Australian regulator initiated legal proceedings against Melco International. It has not been revealed how much money Melco International has paid for the agreement as no further details have been provided by ILGA.
Make Sure To Read: State of Victoria Introduces Cool-off Period at Crown Melbourne
ILGA On Melco’s Back For Years
The ILGA has been investigating Melco and its directors for years, with specific attention for CEO Lawrence Ho Yau Lung. In December 2021, the regulator initiated legal proceedings against the company and its board of directors. The investigation related to the involvement in the violations of the gambling company Crown Resorts. In 2019, Melco bought almost 10% of the shares of Crown, shortly afterwards announcing that it would acquire another 20% of the shares. The company eventually backtracked on the latter plan a year later. Melco even decided to sell all shares to The Blackstone Group in 2020, at a considerably lower rate. In 2022, Crown Resorts shareholders gave the green light for a full takeover by The Blackstone Group.
Make Sure To Read: Star Fined Again in Australia
Crown Continues Under Pressure
A few years ago, Melco International owned a total of 10% of the shares of Crown Resort. During the same period, Crown was blocked from opening a new casino in Sydney. This was partly due to ties that the company allegedly had with junket organisations from Macau. Junket organisations bring wealthy high rollers, typically from China, to overseas land based casinos and take care of credits which can be used to gamble. In addition, Crown is accused of lacking an efficient anti-money laundering policy.
Interestingly, despite all the controversy around Crown Resorts, the Australian gambling company was allowed to keep its licence and continue to offer its services. Crown Resorts Limited is the biggest gaming group in Australia and owns some of the country’s leading gaming venues such as Crown Melbourne, Crown Perth and Crown Sydney. Last year, the company received a record fine of 120 million Australian dollars ((NZ$ 130m). In May, Crown was fined again with the financial burden this time going up to AU$30 million (NZ$ 32m). The organisation was fined for not having adhered to the rules that prohibit the use of checks in land based casinos. The checks were mainly used by foreign visitors.
Make Sure To Read: Crown Resorts Fined Again: NZ $32 million