Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Organised crime and criminals at Crown Casino, Melbourne.

Click to enlarge
Scene on Southbank near the Crown Casino from here
Always makes me think that this could be a foretaste of the fires of hell?!

So many people seem to like to celebrate with a night out at Crown.  I have been coming and going from this part of Melbourne over the last week as I volunteer at the Parliament of the World's Religions which is being held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre in the heart of Melbourne's entertainment and dining precinct. Across the road is the Crown, operated by the Packer family. At night I can chose to wander home past what I call the 'fires of hell' which, needless to say, put out quite a bit of heat.

It's a pity the heat is not put on Crown Casino by the Victorian Government and the Victorian police.  However our government is a gambling addict and facilitates Crown and appears to give it everything it wants and more.

What I don't understand is why so many people associate Crown Casino with a good night out and so many major functions are held there.  Mixing with organised crime and criminals on a celebratory night out is not my idea of fun.  And, yes, there appear to be admissions that - surprise, surprise - organised crime and criminals are alive and well and at Crown.  Have a Casino and it is my view that you have organised crime.  They are inseparable.  Casinos are the simplest, easiest and quickest way of laundering criminal money and turning it into 'clean' cash.

This report appears in The Age to-day.  I am publishing it here so that it doesn't disappear.

Thousands of crimes at Crown
December 8, 2009
THERE is a lot more that goes on at Melbourne's ''world of entertainment'' Crown casino than roulette and blackjack.
A police report has highlighted money laundering, prostitution, cheating and thousands of other offences, including robbery and assault, over a three-period at Victoria's monopoly casino.
The October 2007 report was part of the review of the Melbourne casino operator's licence and was obtained by The Age under freedom of information.
''There has been an identified need to initiate and actively pursue persons suspected of being involved in organised criminal activities, including money laundering at Crown Casino,'' it said. The report said ''meetings with Crown to formulate a strategy to identify and deal with suspected money laundering and unlicensed money lending problems have been initiated''.
Mark Zirnsak of the InterChurch Gambling Taskforce said the police report ''confirms the taskforce's view that casinos are always going to be magnets for criminal activities''.
The police report also referred to prostitution at the casino. While it said there had been no arrests for prostitution, ''it is reasonable to speculate that escort agency females frequent hotel rooms and accompany persons on to the gaming floor, however, provided these are registered persons no offence is committed''.
The report showed 33 people had been excluded from the casino under the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner's exclusion powers, but added, ''This process is on hold pending the outcome of an appeal by a prominent organised crime figure against his exclusion.''
Police were unable to say last night if the exclusion process was still on hold.
Over a period of three years from mid-2003 to mid-2006 3125 offences were committed within the Crown Casino complex, the report said.
The offences included 445 assaults, two kidnappings or abductions, eight sex offences (not rape), 32 cases of handling stolen goods, 13 weapons offences and 344 cases of theft from cars.
Crown Casino spokesman Gary O'Neill said the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation's review of the casino operator's licence said ''the Victoria Police report did not identify any probity issues'' and concluded that there no issues ''that would adversely affect'' its ability ''to continue holding the casino operator's licence''.
Mr O'Neill said: ''A lot of successful prosecution of criminal activity is brought about by the sort of reporting regime that Crown adheres to.'' He said Crown had 45 million visitors in the relevant three-year period.
State Parliament is expected to pass laws this week allowing for the biggest expansion of Crown Casino's gambling capacity in a decade, with a 43 per cent increase in its number of table games.


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