Crown Melbourne Re-Enters Poker Industry After Hiatus

Crown Melbourne is back in the game after almost four years of no poker tournaments. Learn the reason for the hiatus and what to expect from it going forward.


Crown Melbourne (CM) is known for being one of the largest casino complexes worldwide and the largest one in the Southern Hemisphere. Everyone in the poker industry will know it for being the venue of the iconic Aussie Millions. However, various events caused the casino resort to close its poker tournaments. However, after a three and a half year hiatus, the establishment is set to resume hosting poker action. 

History Behind Crown Melbourne’s Fame

Crown Melbourne was established in 1994 and was soon known for its luxurious accommodations, award-winning restaurants, and extensive entertainment options. It launched its first poker offering in 1997 and offered many more events in the next few years. In 1998, the casino introduced the Crown Australian Poker Championship, which was rebranded to Aussie Millions in 2014.

The Impact of COVID and Money Laundering Investigations

In 2020, the pandemic struck, and the resort had to close down all gambling operations, including poker tournaments. However, amid strict social distancing regulations, the brand was also hit with various money laundering allegations. 


The concerns were about how the resort handled its VIP guests and also included money-laundering concerns spanning over a few years. These investigations caused the casino to take longer to re-open than other competitors. Even when it did re-open, poker tournaments were not in the equation. 


Players had to deal with daily limits and limited-capacity poker games while the investigations were ongoing. Investigating the money laundering claims took several years. Finally, it resulted in an astonishing $450 million fine levied in July 2023. The penalty was for egregious breaches of the laws on anti-money laundering.


Aussie Millions And Other Tournaments


The Aussie Millions is a significant Asia-Pacific live annual poker tournament. Players from across the globe will travel to participate. In fact, the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Main Events each boasted at least 800 entries and a $10,600 buy-in.


The Aussie Millions isn’t the only iconic event held at this establishment. In 2013 and 2014, it hosted the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific tournaments, which boasted 15 gold bracelets. After the venue discontinued poker tournaments, players wondered if competitors would step in.

Can Crown Melbourne Successfully Enter the Market?

The Star was one of the main competitors and even set a record in 2022 when it boasted 1,224 entries into its A$2,000 Main Event during the WPT Prime Gold Coast. Many thought this might be the brand to take over CM’s poker tournaments. 


However, the story doesn’t end there. The plot twist is that the Star Entertainment Group also received allegations of money-laundering and is currently under investigation. This ironic twist means CM may be able to take back a significant part of the regional poker market, which has been on-hold for years now. 


The Future of This Casino Resort


Crown Melbourne is aiming to make a prominent comeback to the poker industry. It might have a chance, especially as its direct competitor is now under scrutiny. In an effort to re-enter the industry and become more visible, the brand is moving its poker room to the first floor and expanding its offering. It’s unlikely for the Aussie Millions to make a comeback in 2024. However, we believe it might launch in 2025, especially if the brand uses dedicated satellites to gather entries.