The Aussie Millions, the largest poker series in the Southern Hemisphere, is likely to be on hiatus until at least 2025, as a result of a series of reforms assessed against Australia’s Crown Melbourne Casino. Anti-money-laundering mandates that will cap all gamblers’ cash transactions at $1,000 per day are one of a dozen new rules that the casino must adhere to in order to continue in operation.
As many as 33 new reforms could be ordered by Victoria state regulators, and they are intended to target massive abuses uncovered at the casino during a multi-year investigation. Crown Melbourne was replete with abusive and fraudulent tactics, ranging from casino operations meant to keep gamblers plugging the “pokies” (slot machines) to major money-laundering schemes that defrauded Victoria of $200 million in due tax income.
The other Australian Crown Resorts properties were acquired by a U.S. based company just last month, and Crown Melbourne was fortunate to remain in operation. It will take some time for the new reforms to be implemented, such as mandatory loyalty-card-based tracking of all gambling transactions and wagers. The casino will have until the end of 2023 to implement all of the ordered reforms, and it will remain in agrace period to assure operational compliance for an additional two years.
Anti-money-laundering measures make poker more vulnerable
The ongoing shelving of the Aussie Millions is more of a victim of the consequences of the poker players being allowed to remain in action than anything else. Many of the government-ordered reforms target various slots-related abuses, but the anti-money-laundering measures would likely hinder poker players’ ability to freely enter and re-enter the major events that dotted earlier Aussie Millions schedules.
The junket system that China’s regulators have cracked down on in recent years has been used by Crown Melbourne for years to recruit wealthy Chinese gamblers. While a few of those junket-participating gamblers were occasional high-rolling poker players, the casino’s interest was entirely in recruiting the whales to gamble in Melbourne.
The poker events at Crown were on hiatus because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The final Aussie Millions series was held in January of 2020, while the series for 2021 was never announced.
The Aussie Millions, the largest poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, is likely to be on hiatus until at least 2025, as a result of a series of reforms assessed against Australia’s Crown Melbourne Casino. Anti-money-laundering mandates that will cap all gamblers’ cash transactions at $1,000 per day are one of a dozen new rules that the casino must adhere to.