Crown pays AUD 1 a year for casino site

The Packer-controlled Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) pays rent of just AUD 1 a year for its Crown casino complex in Melbourne.

A Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation report, tabled in parliament on Thursday, reveals Crown’s owners will pay AUD 1 a year for its Southbank site for the first 40 years of its 99 year lease and market value for the remaining years, Fairfax newspapers reported on Friday.

Crown entered the lease in 1993.

The casino made AUD 370.1 million in profit last year, from AUD 2.03 billion in revenue.

Crown spokesman Gary O’Neill told Fairfax the casino site was a „derelict piece of land, which had been unused for a long period and couldn’t be built on until it was cleaned up“.

The casino had paid a licence fee of AUD 200 million, spent almost AUD 2 billion to develop the giant casino complex and had paid the government almost AUD 2.7 billion in taxes and charges since 1993.

The report called on Crown to do better at detecting people who had stolen money to gamble and noted a sharp rise in the number of underage gamblers trying to enter the complex – from 2,060 a month in 2003 to 6,859 a month this year.

In the five years to June 20 this year, only 148 minors were caught inside the gaming area, the report said.

The report found Crown „continues to be at the forefront of Australian casinos, meets the requirements of an international world-class casino complex and has a satisfactory degree of operational compliance“.

It noted 207 breaches of table gaming rules and 1,668 breaches of gaming machine rules and 25 disciplinary actions against the casino.