Finance Interim report filed on WA gambling laws, with Crown Perth gaming licence on line

Interim report filed on WA gambling laws, with Crown Perth gaming licence on line

Early findings are expected from a royal commission looking at WA's gaming laws and Crown Perth. Photo: AAP
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The Perth Casino Royal Commission has presented its interim report to West Australian Governor Kim Beazley, but it remains unclear if and when it will be made public.

The interim findings from former Supreme Court justices Neville Owen and Lindy Jenkins and former WA auditor-general Colin Murphy were presented to Governor Beazley on Wednesday, with a copy also provided to the office of Premier Mark McGowan.

The commission said it was not empowered to release the interim report.

“It is a matter for government to decide if the interim report is published,” it said in a statement.

It’s understood the findings deal substantially with the adequacy of the existing regulatory framework in relation to casinos and casino gaming in Western Australia.

A final report from the commission, which will look more closely at the suitability of Crown Perth to hold a gaming licence, is due by November 14.

A bombshell NSW report into the company’s operations earlier this year found Crown was not suitable to hold the licence for a Sydney casino because it had facilitated money laundering through bank accounts held by subsidiaries.

At the opening of the WA commission, Mr Owen said the inquiry would be informed by the NSW Bergin probe as well as a royal commission being undertaken in Victoria.

“So far as we are aware, this is the first time since the grant of the casino licence in 1988 that there has been an inquiry into these issues and given social changes in over 30 years, there is an increased importance to an inquiry of this kind,” he said.

“We will be concerned with grave matters of private and public interest and we enter into this investigation with that firmly in mind.”

The inquiry will not consider the morality of gambling but is likely to touch upon Crown’s corporate social responsibility, Mr Owen said.

WA’s Gaming and Wagering Commission has already directed Crown Perth to no longer hold junkets and to obtain the commission’s approval to establish gaming bank accounts in a bid to prevent any further possible wrongdoing.

The commission is set to resume with opening statements on July 16 ahead of the next witnesses appearing from July 19.

-AAP