Annette Kimmitt named CEO of new Victorian casino regulator

By Ethan Anderson Updated
Annette Kimmitt named CEO of new Victorian casino regulator

The Victorian Government has announced Annette Kimmitt as the inaugural chief executive officer of the state’s newly formed Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

Inside Asian Gaming reports the former Ernst & Young executive will commence in the role from March 21, with VGCCC chair Fran Thorn citing her experience and leadership skills as central to her selection following an “extensive” recruitment process.

“Her background in the business world and her experience in audit and risk management in particular will be a huge asset to our regulation of the gambling and liquor industries and ensuring harm minimisation,” Thorn said.

Kimmitt, who takes over from acting CEO Scott May, has more than 37 years’ professional and commercial experience, including several executive leadership roles with major Australian and international firms.

She previously served in several high-profile leadership roles with Ernst & Young, including Global Growth Markets Leader, Asia-Pacific accounts managing partner, Melbourne managing partner and Managing Partner Assurance.

More recently, she served as CEO and managing partner of Australia’s largest law firm, MinterEllison, from October 2018 to March 2021.

Taking over regulation of the state’s gambling industry from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, the establishment of a dedicated casino and gambling regulator is part of the fallout from the recent royal commission into Crown Melbourne, which ultimately found Crown unsuitable to retain its casino licence, but granted a two-year window within which to prove suitability.

First announced in August amid concerns its predecessor had lacked the resources to properly regulate Crown, the separation of liquor and gaming will allow the VCGGG to “focus solely on regulating casino and gambling operators and minimising harm,” the government said, “with a dedicated casino division and commissioners focusing solely on the casino operator.”

Labour shortage causes problems for Crown

A nationwide labour shortage will see Crown Resorts open its Sydney casino in a staggered manner, as it prepares for the reinstatement of its suspected casino licence before the end of March.

Crown CEO Steve McCann said he was planning to open the first of the two rooms in the $2.3 billion Barangaroo tower when the NSW licence was reinstated “shortly”.

The second room would open when there were enough workers to service the casino at full capacity, McCann said.

He was speaking after Crown reported its half-year results, which could be its last as a listed company after the board recommended shareholders accept an $8.9 billion bid for the beleaguered casino empire from US private equity group Blackstone.

McCann said the labour shortage had also hit its restaurants, which had been forced to close midweek because there were not enough staff to plug the gap.

“There is a bit of a challenge at the moment. We’re not at full capacity. Some weeknights restaurants are closed and that will remain the case until we get past this phase of the virus.

“But we’re encouraged by what we’re hearing about labour, clearly international borders opening will provide opportunities.”

While McCann did not reveal a timeframe to open Crown’s Sydney casino, rival casino group and one-time Crown suitor The Star said it was bracing for the new casino to open its doors in four to six weeks and ruled out a counter bid.

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