호주 멜버른(Melbourne)의 빅 크라운 카지노(Vic Crown Casino) 상대로 1억2000만 달러 벌금 조치가 내려졌습니다. 이번 1억2000만 달러 벌금은 한화로 약 1,662억 원에 달하는 막대한 금액입니다. 빅 크라운 카지노는 10년이 넘는 오랜 시간 도박 관련 법률을 위반한 혐의로 벌금을 받게 됐습니다.
크라운 카지노 1억2000만 달러 벌금 받아
빅토리안 도박 관리 위원회(Victorian Gambling Casino Control Commission, VGCCC)는 빅 크라운 카지노의 2가지 지속적인 위법 행위에 대해 1억2000만 달러 벌금을 부과했습니다. 이들이 위반한 법률은 다음과 같습니다.
- 고객이 휴식 없이 24시간 이상 연속으로 도박을 할 수 있도록 허용한 행위 (1억 달러 벌금)
- 고객이 플라스틱 픽(Pick)를 사용하여 포키(Pokie) 머신 버튼을 누르는 것을 방치한 행위 (2,000만 달러 벌금)
카지노 측에서 책임감을 갖고 지속적으로 순찰을 도는 등 법안을 준수하기 위한 노력을 해야 함에도 불구하고 이를 사실상 방치했다는 것입니다. 위원회 의장인 프랜 손(Fran Thorn)은 빅 크라운 카지노가 약 12년에 걸쳐 책임감 있는 도박 관리 서비스에 대한 행동 강령을 위반했으며, 고객을 보호하려는 노력보다 이익을 극대화하기 위해 노력했다고 밝혔습니다.
또한 빅 크라운 카지노는 도박의 문제점에 대처하기 위한 접근 방식 면에서 세계 최고 수준의 서비스를 갖추고 있다고 홍보했지만, 2018년 이후 기존의 보수적인 정책을 변경하라는 당국의 경고를 무시했다고 언급했습니다. 훨씬 더 많은 사람을 도박 중독으로부터 보호할 수 있음에도 불구하고 가이드라인을 따르지 않아 어쩔 수 없이 벌금 조치를 내렸다는 것입니다.
1억2000만 달러 벌금은 위원회가 카지노를 관리하기 위해 총 2억 달러에 달하는 강력한 권한을 부여 받은 이후 내려진 조치 중 가장 강력한 조치이자, 가장 큰 벌금 액수입니다. 이는 호주 전국에 걸친 카지노 사업체에게 내려진 각종 제재 중 가장 큰 동시에 가장 최근에 이루어진 조치이기 때문에, 다른 업체 또한 촉각을 곤두세우고 있습니다.
작년 위원회에서 도박과 관련된 사람들의 누적 손실과 자살 시도 등에 대한 문제가 불거지며, 위원회는 도박 중독을 막기 위한 강력한 조치를 모색하고 있습니다. 2,000만 달러 벌금은 고객이 플라스틱 픽을 사용하여 동시에 여러 대의 포키 머신을 사용하는 것을 방치했기 때문입니다. 크라운 카지노는 현지인에 비해 중국인 방문객이 적어 바카라 등의 게임보다 슬롯의 비중이 높습니다. 2019년 위원회는 빅 크라운 카지노에게 고객에게 버튼을 누르기 위한 픽 제공 행위를 중단하고, 픽을 사용하는 고객을 막도록 조치할 것을 요구한 바 있습니다.
크라운 카지노에 대한 감독과 제재 조치
문제는 1억2000만 달러 벌금과 같은 위원회의 강력한 제재 조치가 이번 한 번의 벌금으로 끝나지 않을 것이라는 점입니다. 위원회는 다른 조사 결과와 관련하여 빅 크라운 카지노에 대한 추가 제재 조치를 검토하고 있다고 밝혔습니다. 2022년 초 국제 사모 펀드 블랙스톤(Blackstone)은 90억 달러(약 12조 5천억 원)에 빅 크라운 카지노를 인수하였고, 위원회 역시 6월경 이를 승인했습니다. 카지노 인수 이후 채 6개월이 지나지 않은 상황에서 막대한 벌금이라는 철퇴를 맞은 것입니다. 엄청난 인수 비용을 회수하기 위해 카지노가 이익을 극대화하기 위한 조치에 나설 것이라 보고, 이를 경계하기 위해 위원회가 선제 조치에 나선 것이라는 분석도 있습니다.
빅 크라운 리조트는 이번 1억2000만 달러 벌금 조치에 대해 수용하고 적극 협조에 나설 것을 밝혔습니다. 이들은 성명을 통해 빅 크라운 카지노를 이끄는 새로운 리더십 팀이 개혁을 추진하고 있으며, 과거의 실패에 대해 진심으로 반성한다고 말했습니다. 또한 앞으로 안전하고 책임감 있는 게임 및 엔터테인먼트 경험을 제공하기 위해 노력할 것이라 말했습니다.
새롭게 임명된 리더십 팀은 단순히 이익을 극대화하는 데 치중하기보다, 문화를 향상하고 이해 관계자의 기대를 뛰어 넘어 더욱 좋은 크라운 카지노 브랜드를 구축하는 데 힘을 쏟겠다는 포부입니다. 1억2000만 달러에 달하는 벌금은 현재 크라운 카지노에게 있어 무척 부담스러운 액수이지만, 당국이 이번 벌금 조치로 인해 강력한 제재 의지를 천명한 만큼 더 이상 당국의 방침에 반하는 운영을 할 수 없는 상황이기도 합니다.
크라운 카지노를 둘러싼 잇따른 악재
작년 버진(Bergin)이 수행한 조사에 따르면, 빅 크라운 리조트는 총 20억 달러 규모의 시드니(Sydney) 카지노를 운영하는 데에 적합하지 않다는 결과를 받은 적이 있습니다. 그리고 퍼스(Perth) 지역의 카지노를 운영하는 데 적합하지 않다는 평가 또한 받았습니다. 이에 독립된 모니터링 팀을 운영하여 퍼스 카지노를 감독한다는 전제 하에 카지노 운영을 허가 받았고, 회사가 이사회 및 관리 절차를 재정비한다는 조건 하에 8월 바랑가루(Barangaroo) 타워에서 빅 크라운 카지노를 운영하고 있었습니다. 크라운 리조트가 카지노 운영에 적합하지 않은데도 불구하고 약 2년의 시간을 주고 카지노 운영에 적합한 자격을 갖추도록 기회를 준 것입니다.
빅 크라운 카지노는 2012년과 2016년 사이 4년에 걸쳐 중국 은련 카드(China UnionPay)를 통해 약 1억 6,000만 달러 이상의 자금을 불법적으로 이체한 행위에 대해 지난 5월 8,000만 달러의 벌금을 받은 적도 있습니다. 이번 1억2000만 달러 벌금은 이에 이어 두 번째 가해진 강한 조치입니다. 지난 8천만 달러와 이번 1억 2천만 달러의 벌금을 통해, 위원회는 본인들에게 주어진 총 2억 달러의 벌금 권한을 모두 사용했습니다.
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