Victorian premier Daniel Andrews’ former senior advisor Chris Reilly orchestrated Crown’s threat to call in the state’s gambling minister in a bid to get the casino regulator to back off.

Ms Fielding said Crowns then head of corporate affairs Mr Reilly was in the room with her at the time of the phone call and prompted her to say that Mr Preston would take up the matter with Victorias then gaming minister, Marlene Kairouz.
Mr Reilly was director of parliamentary affairs and strategic relations for premier Daniel Andrews – who was himself the gaming minister in the Bracks government – until 2018, when he left to join Crown.
The Andrews government has been criticised for its close relationship with Crown in light of revelations over the past two years that its Southbank casino was infiltrated by international criminal syndicates and had become a money laundering hot spot.
Mr Andrews, who resisted calls for an inquiry into Crown until a probe in NSW found the group unfit to hold a casino licence in that state, on Monday said he did not regret delaying the royal commission.
Weve established a royal commission, weve chosen a commissioner who I think is regarded in the highest possible terms as a person of integrity, as a person who will do this job properly, Mr Andrews said on his first day back at work following his four-month sick leave.
Mr Andrews refused to be drawn on whether he had been shocked by the revelations of the royal commission, but said he was not easily shocked, and that he was eagerly waiting the final report.
Ms Fielding conceded it was concerning that she did not feel comfortable talking to the regulator in that manner but did so anyway. I wouldnt ring [the VCGLR officer] in that tone again whether I was asked to or not, she said.
Ms Fielding was the compliance manager at Crown Melbourne at the time and is now the head of compliance across the whole Crown Resorts group.
It was also revealed on Monday that Crown knew as far back as 2012 that it was potentially breaking the law by accepting credit card payments through its hotel desk in exchange for gambling chips.
Crown disclosed the breach of Victorian law to the commission and VCGLR earlier this month after accepting around $160 million in payments this way between 2012 and 2016.
Ms Fielding was shown a 2012 email she wrote explaining she did not think the practice was legal but outlining what Crown could argue to defend itself if the matter arises.
Commissioner Ray Finkelstein asked: If you werent going to get caught youd get away with it, and if you got caught, you knew you would be in trouble.
Basically, Ms Fielding responded.
On Monday Ms Neskovcin also raised the VCGLRs concerns about how Crown was unnecessarily belligerent when the regulator tried to investigate how 19 Crown staff were arrested on gambling crimes in China in 2016.
But Ms Fielding told the commission she had been too busy preparing for the royal commission to read the VCGLRs report detailing the problems it encountered, which was released five weeks ago.
Ms Neskovcin said that part of change at Crown required self-reflection, and asked how Commissioner Finkelstein could have the faith and assurance that this wouldnt happen again when you, Ms Fielding, havent even read the report?
Ive explained to you why I havent read the report, Ms Fielding responded. Its not that Im choosing not to, I havent had the capacity to.
Ms Fielding said she would read the damning 135-page report as I have the capacity.
The inquiry continues on Tuesday.
– with Sumeyya Ilanbey