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Australia’s Crown Resorts fined $77 million by regulators

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo   BX +2.28% Add to/Remove from Watchlist Add to Watchlist Add Position

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SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian casino operator Crown Resorts has been fined A$120 million ($77.3 million) for serious misconduct, regulators of the state of Victoria said on Monday.

The breaches by Crown, which was acquired by private equity firm Blackstone (NYSE:BX) Inc for $6.3 billion, was “extensive, sustained, systemic, and very serious”, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission said in its report published on its website.

Some of the breaches included failing to prevent gambling harm by allowing players to gamble continuously for 12 hours or more without observation or interaction, with some customers allowed to gamble continuously for well over 24 hours, it said.

The casino operation also allowed large numbers of customers in the problem gambling category to escape attention, the report added.

Australia’s gambling industry has been in the spotlight in recent years, with public inquiries lashing its biggest casino operators due to lapses in money laundering protections.

In the fallout from the inquires into Crown, all of which found it unfit for a gambling licence, the company accepted an A$8.9 billion buyout by private equity giant Blackstone Inc.

Last month rival Star Entertainment Group said a regulator-appointed manager would step in to run its Sydney casino after an investigation by an independent commission found it had failed to prevent money laundering and criminal activity.

($1 = 1.5533 Australian dollars)

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