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Crown ‘unfit to run casino’ in Melbourne, say royal commission lawyers

The lawyer leading the Victorian probe into Crown casino says the gaming firm is not suitable to hold a casino licence in Victoria because it has lost the trust of the community.

In his final submissions, counsel assisting the royal commission Adrian Finanzio SC said the company’s efforts to reform itself may not be sufficient to regain public trust, which he said it had lost due to “flagrant” and consistent breaches of law and ethical standards.

Adrian Finanzio SC, counsel assisting at today’s Crown hearing.

Adrian Finanzio SC, counsel assisting at today’s Crown hearing.Credit:

“After all the evidence presented in these hearings it remains clear Crown is not presently suitable to hold a casino licence,” he said.

“In this commission, for the first time, a sense of the depth and breadth of misconduct has come to light.

“The evidence reveals serious misconduct, illegal conduct and highly inappropriate conduct, which has been encouraged or facilitated by a culture which has consistently put profit before all other considerations.”

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Mr Finanzio said it was also open for the commissioner, Ray Finkelstein QC, to find that Crown was suitable to maintain its licence, but said it would be difficult to come to justify this position.

“The company, having acknowledged the error of its ways, recognises what is required of it and is on the path to suitability. That fact in itself can sometimes render a licensee suitable, but this is not a case of isolated or trifling indiscretions or breaches capable of easy and quick rectification,” he said.

“This is a case where it would be open to find the misconduct has been so flagrant and so well-publicised and detrimental to Crown’s overall reputation that no amount of restructuring can restore confidence in it as a fit and proper person to hold a licence.”

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