Crown Resorts’ biggest shareholder James Packer denied that the casino operator has been rigging its slot machines and sweeping money laundering scheme under the carpet. In an effort to protect the already tarnished company’s reputation, Mr. Packer felt it necessary to publicly urge his colleagues to think of ideas to make the business more transparent. On Thursday, the company held its annual general meeting (AGM) in Melbourne, in which the members of the board announced that the accusations against Crown Resorts are false and the company is to step back from large political donations. The meeting was
Last week, the independent Member of Parliament and opponent to the slot machines Andrew Wilkie presented video evidence in Canberra Parliament, in which 3 former Crown Resorts employees accused the operator of misdeeds at its Melbourne-based casino. The video statement claims that the casino operator manipulates its poker machines in a manner to increase players’ losses. Apart from that, the 3 ex-workers claimed that the casino’s management conveniently forgot to report certain incidents including domestic violence and drug taking. The accusations were made by the independent Member of Parliament under parliamentary privilege, so that Crown Resorts cannot sue Mr. Wilkie for libel. Following the allegations, Crown shares sharply dropped with over 4%.
Crown Resorts’ Shield against Wilkie’s Attacks
Responding to the attacks, Crown Resorts challenged Mr. Wilkie to repeat his allegations against the company outside the Parliament, where his words will not be protected by parliamentary privilege. According to Crown, the officials declined to restate his claims outside the Parliament. On Tuesday this week, Mr. Wilkie informed the Parliament for another whistleblower, but Government Minister Christopher Pyne did not allow the Member of Parliament to air the new evidence and to make any more accusations against Crown Resorts.
Casino mogul and businessman James Packer outrageously refused all the claims against the operator, referring to Mr. Wilkie’s accusations as a “lie”. During an open AGM meeting, which took place this Thursday, he announced that the company is to explore different ways to improve the transparency on problem gambling and poker machine profits. The casino officials were challenged with questions from the former poker addict Anna Bardsley and poker machine opponents. Alliance for Gambling Reform representatives Tim Costello and Stephen Mayne also attended the meeting, cross-questioning Mr. Packer on issues regarding the company’s transparency regarding poker machine losses and revenue.
During the AGM meeting, the shareholders unanimously re-elected James Packer to the board. As it can be recalled, Mr. Packer resigned as Crown Resorts Chairman in August 2015. This move was triggered by his plan to privatize the gambling operator and take it private. Earlier this year, he returned to Crown’s board, leaving his initial plan aside.