Crown casino: the tip of corporate corruption

Crown Sydney
Sydney's Crown Casino, which has been denied an operating licence. Photo: Wikipedia Commons CC by SA 4.0

When Crown Casino hit the news for money laundering concerns, there was one phrase that immediately sprang to my mind: “Crown Casino will steal your money”.

This was one of the things we chanted loudly at the S11 blockade of the World Economic Forum in 2000.

A corporate cabal was meeting in the Crown Casino in Melbourne and 20,000 of us were blockading outside. It must be said that we did a pretty good job of disrupting the profiteers’ pow-wow.

Crown Casino had to close its gambling rooms to the public and it complained in the media that they were losing $10 million a day as a result.

It always struck me that that was a lot of money coming out of the pockets of ordinary people to feed the rapacious greed of a parasitical industry.

After all, everybody knows that the gambling industry feeds on desperation and misery.

Two decades later and, pre-pandemic, Australians were spending $26 billion on racing, $11 billion on sports betting and $181 billion on casinos and pokies each year.

Now it is clear that, not only are they fleecing ordinary punters, Crown Casino is credibly accused of links with organised crime, insider trading, money laundering, illegal modification of gambling machines, drug trafficking and more.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said Crown is “unfit to operate any casino in Australia”, a view shared by many others.

But it is not just Crown Casino.

The Banking Royal Commission exposed massive illegality among Australia’s banks. All of the top four have plead guilty in court many times to money laundering and other crimes (even though, in general, they get treated with kid gloves by the corporate regulators).

The big mining companies are headed by a climate-change denying death cult which values short term profits over the future of civilisation.

Now it seems the mafiosi running Crown Casino is scrambling to change some personnel among its executive and board in the (plausible) hope that Australian governments will allow them to continue operations.

People talk about “corporate criminals” and “crony capitalism”.

There is another word for “crony capitalism”: it is “capitalism”.

“Corporate criminal” is practically a tautology. The entire system is dripping with corruption — both legal and illegal.

It doesn’t matter if you look at it from the government end or the corporate end. Either way, the big end of town wants to keep on making money and they pay for the governments that will allow them to do it.

They write the laws to suit themselves and they flout the laws when they need to.

There is no meaningful representation for ordinary people in this system.

Every now and again there is an exposé or corruption scandal. However, the normal functioning of the system always results in a return to exploitation as usual. At best, a few individuals have to take a fall.

That is why Green Left campaigns to disrupt the “normal functioning of the system”. In fact, we need to replace the capitalist system with a superior alternative.

We will always support initiatives that hold individual fat cats accountable or that regulate improvements in human rights, environmental sustainability and workers’ rights.

But we also shine a spotlight on the pathway out of the mess: socialist solutions to the intractable problems of rapacious corporate greed.

For 30 years that message has resonated and we’re confident that we can build a world run by and for ordinary people, not the James Packers of the world.

Every step we’ve taken so far has been with the help of supporters like you. We promise not to give up this fight and we ask you to help us along with your active involvement, your donations and/or by being a Green Left supporter.