Crown Resorts Has a New Potential Issue To Deal With: Alleged Environmental Pollution

Crown Resorts already has its hands full as it defends itself against multiple inquiries and investigations. In addition to anti-money laundering and responsible gambling violations, it might soon find itself having to explain why it resorted to environmental pollution.

Workers pulls garbage from the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia. Some of the items they have recovered belong to Crown Resorts, which could lead to environmental fines. (Image: The Age/Wayne Taylor)

Media outlet The Age reported on a mammoth task in progress in Australia to clean up the Yarra River in Victoria. Divers have spent the last few weeks pulling out debris and trash, pulling up around 20,000 cubic meters (26,158 cubic yards) of junk.

So far, they have recovered over 100 e-scooters and e-bikes, shopping carts and more. In addition, they have found over a dozen chairs and tables belonging to Crown.

Irresponsible Dumping

The Australasian Marine Associates (AMA) came across the items this week, according to The Age. Four commercial divers have been concentrating on a specific area around rowing boat sheds.

It appears that the Yarra has become a dumping ground for anything and everything. However, the appearance of Crown furnishings is more than a little puzzling. Dr. Adam Cohen, the managing director of the AMA, pointed out that he has difficulty understanding why there was so much Crown equipment.

The river passes in front of Crown Melbourne, less than 100 feet away. It’s close enough that tossing items into the river in order to get rid of them would not be cumbersome.

There’s no evidence that Crown is directly responsible for the dumping. It’s just as conceivable that, during some outdoor event, rowdy gamblers or mischievous attention-seekers decided to have a little fun adn tossed the items.

However, should Victoria decide to investigate and is able to determine that the casino operator deliberately tossed the equipment into the river, financial penalties are possible. Environment Protection Authority Victoria can issue a fine of AU$1,859 (US$1,241) for violations of up to 50 liters of garbage. Larger fines are also possible.

Crown is reportedly very environmentally-friendly. It has an entire department dedicated to reducing its environmental footprint by “pursuing sustainable energy, water procurement (sic), and waste practices in all of our operations.” However, it also insists it has a solid “anti-bribery and corruption policy,” but that hasn’t held up to scrutiny.

Hanna Kowalczyk, the acting district manager of Parks Victoria, said that the dredging effort removed 146 cubic meters (190.9 cubic yards) of garbage last year. This was 38 cubic meters less than a year earlier. It is also significantly less than the 355 cubic meters (464.3 cubic yards) from 2017.

Crown Continues C-Level Rejig

The Age contacted Crown about the garbage, but it didn’t respond. This is possibly because it has to dedicate a lot of resources to restructuring its executive ranks.

Crown recently appointed long-time industry executive Ciarán Carruthers as its new boss. It now has another high-ranking official on the team, with Mark McWhinnie set to become the CEO of Crown Sydney.

McWhinnie, like Carruthers, is another Macau transfer. The CEO group boss was previously a Wynn Macau executive, while Crown Sydney’s inbound leader was with Sands China.

He has held senior positions at The Venetian Macao and Sands Cotai Central, which became The Londoner last year. He was also previously the senior VP of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

If regulators sign off on the appointment, McWhinnie will replace Simon McGrath, who is leaving at the end of this month. Should everything fall into place, he will officially take the reins as of October 4.

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