Crown Australia is trying to make amends for its mistakes after the multiple scandals it has been embroiled in over the past two years. It all started when a whistleblower revealed that the casino tampered with the gaming machines on at least one of its properties. Since then an iceberg of illegal practices began to emerge.
The company has been accused of a series of irregularities and crimes ranging from money laundering to mafia associations. This trail of corruption led the authorities to describe it as “inappropriate” for the operator to maintain a gaming license.
But, now it has decided to rectify to try to recover its prestige and avoid that the license is withdrawn. This is why it created a new compliance division with highly qualified staff such as the National Australia Bank’s Director of Financial Crime Risk, Steven Blackburn.
Now Blackburn will take over as Crown’s Chief Financial Crimes and Compliance Officer to try to close the black chapter of the scandals and avoid additional penalties. The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) of New South Wales (NSW) is conducting an investigation against the operator.
ILGA found “flaws in Crown’s culture, risk management and compliance processes,” which jeopardize the maintenance of the operator’s gaming license. The regulator’s decision on Crown is expected on february 1. If Crown passes the exam and has a new opportunity, Blackburn will begin his new assignment in march.
He would report directly to Crown CEO Ken Barton and the company’s Board of Directors, which is likely to introduce some changes in the coming weeks. As part of the sanctions, the operator was unable to launch the Crown Sydney, scheduled for this month. And if it wants to reopen it will have to convince the authorities that it is sorry and will change their behavior.
“I am very happy that Steven has agreed to join Crown. This appointment is a further significant step toward strengthening our anti-money laundering and compliance functions,” Barton said of Blackburn’s appointment.
“Steven is a seasoned compliance executive and his considerable technical experience and global perspectives will position him well to take a leadership role in driving further business improvements,” he added.
While working as head of the National Australia Bank’s financial crimes division, Blackburn oversaw all activity related to financial crime reporting and monitoring. Likewise, he was in charge of ensuring that the company complied with its global operations correctly.
Crown’s new executive has all the experience necessary to detect any compliance failure of the company. It’s just that he won’t be able to do anything until after the regulatory authority determines whether or not Crown is fit to continue operating the gambling business.