Crown Melbourne has been fined $20million for improperly claiming tax deductions after disguising promotional costs as gambling winnings.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) found the casino operator deliberately concealed the nature of the deductions from the regulator.

Crown accepted it was wrong to claim the deductions and has since paid approximately $61.5m to the Victorian Government which includes $37.4m of unpaid casino tax and penalty interest of $24.1m.

On top of this, the VGCCC has imposed a fine of $20m.

VGCCC Chairperson, Fran Thorn, said the casino and other gaming licensees have important obligations to pay gaming taxes to the state.

“Not only did Crown breach its obligations by claiming tax deductions to which it was not entitled, Crown also made significant efforts at concealment,” Ms Thorn said.

“The VGCCC will not tolerate this behaviour.

“We expect licensees to comply with their tax obligations and to be transparent in their dealings with us.

“[The fine sends] a clear message that this type of conduct will be met with strong disciplinary action.”

Crown Melbourne CEO, Mike Volkert, said the historical breaches, decisions and actions have no place at the company.

“Under new ownership and leadership, we are committed to an open, constructive, and transparent relationship with our regulators and stakeholders, as well as improving internal controls and our regulatory reporting requirements,” he said.

“Our Future Crown program is driving whole-of-company reform and we are focused on building a Crown that exceeds the expectations of our stakeholders and the community.

“This practice ceased in 2021 and Crown has since made the required payments to meet its casino tax obligations.”

Since receiving disciplinary powers after the 2021 Royal Commission into Crown, the VGCCC has imposed fines on the casino operator totalling $250m.

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