27 October 2021
For immediate release
Financial Counselling Victoria (FCVic) this week welcomed the findings of the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence which evidenced that Crown Melbourne had engaged for many years in ‘conduct that is, in a word, disgraceful… variously illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative’.
Financial counsellors work with and support people impacted by harms from gambling – including gamblers and their families – to resolve debt and financial issues.
“It has been clear to financial counsellors for years that Crown’s claims to be engaged in best practice support of vulnerable people at risk from gambling were little more than a joke”, said Dr Sandy Ross, FCVic Executive Officer.
“Financial counsellors deal daily with the heartbreak and damage caused by Crown Melbourne’s massive failings, and see its wide community impacts. They also delve into the experiences of gamblers and have witnessed the ways in which Crown pushed, prodded and manipulated vulnerable people. We were not surprised to see Commissioner Finkelstein use words like ‘callous’ and ‘exploitative’ to describe Crown Melbourne”, he said.
Dr Ross said financial counsellors were deeply sceptical about Crown Melbourne being left able to continue operating under a licence in circumstances where it had demonstrably failed to satisfy the requirements to hold one.
He called on the Government to ensure the accepted Royal Commission recommendations for a new regulator and Special Manager resulted in rigorous and publicly accountable independent oversight.
“Improved oversight must include the rapid initiation of an investigation when financial counsellors provide evidence of compliance breaches”, said Dr Ross, adding that the Commission had proposed a range of improvements and safeguards regarding the responsible service of gambling arrangements and these should be reviewed for impact within the next 2 years.
FCVic is the peak body for Financial Counsellors in Victoria.
Financial counsellors provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty.
Dr Sandy Ross, Executive Officer
Financial Counselling Victoria
0417 557 420 Email: [email protected].au