Victoria, Australia established a new casino regulator a few months ago, tasking Scott May as its interim boss. The body now has a permanent leader in former Ernst & Young executive Annette Kimmitt.
After the Crown Resorts debacle in Australia, states across the country realized they needed to make changes. Victoria got the ball rolling. It decided that the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) had too much on its plate.
In November, the state created the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) to focus solely on gaming oversight. Acting CEO Scott May was given the reigns, but only temporarily. He has now handed them over to Annette Kimmitt, according to an announcement from the Victorian government.
When Victoria created the VGCCC, it brought in former Secretary to the Department of Health Fran Thorn as its chair. She has now appointed Kimmitt to be the first full-time CEO of the organization following an “extensive” selection process.
A New Era of Gaming Oversight
Kimmitt’s background includes a three-year stint as the CEO and managing partner of MinterEllison, a large law firm in Australia. She resigned a little less than two and a half years into her five-year contract, according to ABC News, after calling out a senior partner at the firm.
Kimmitt had sent an email to the firm’s staff, questioning it for choosing to defend then-Attorney General Christian Porter on rape charges. Her departure came through a “mutual agreement” with others at the firm.
She has also had high-profile roles at Ernst & Young, including as its Global Growth Markets Leader, Asia-Pacific Accounts managing partner, Melbourne managing partner and managing partner Assurance.
The VGCCC will be able to “focus solely on regulating casino and gambling operators and minimizing harm,” the Victorian government stated when it created the regulator. Its development was the direct result of the Crown Resorts debacle. It created a “dedicated casino division and commissioners focusing solely on the casino operator.”
Crown Resorts Causes Disruptions in Australia
New South Wales suspended Crown’s license following a lengthy investigation that found evidence of violations of anti-money laundering and other controls. Victoria didn’t suspend its license in the state but gave it a two-year “probation” to correct its mistakes. Western Australia’s investigation just wrapped up, and the government will reveal its determination after reviewing all of the findings.
Although the VGCCC was born out of Crown’s wrongdoings, the casino operator isn’t the only one to feel regulators’ stings. Star Entertainment has had its name added to the list as well.
The Sydney Morning Herald indicates that Star’s Sydney operations will likely be investigated to determine whether Chinese high rollers were, with the casino’s approval, able to withdraw gambling money masked as hotel expenses.
One of the key witnesses, according to the media outlet, is Chinese billionaire Philippine Dong Fang Lee. He is alleged to be a Star VIP who used Star’s China UnionPay card system to move millions from China to Australia between 2014 and 2015.
Multiple sources informed the Herald that the inquiry will examine whether Lee used the system to move money from China into Australia to buy property. He will be able to answer those questions and more when he takes the stand next week.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), also went after Crown for its lack of corporate integrity. The ripple effect is securely in place, and the financial watchdog is also digging into Star’s activity.
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