(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

Star Entertainment's proposal for a merger with Crown wouldn't merely create a gambling giant controlling casinos in most capital cities, but a juggernaut of political influence.

Crown's political influence in Victoria and Western Australia allowed it to evade effective regulatory scrutiny in those states, while its national influence ensured cooperation from the Department of Home Affairs. Star's influence in Sydney was demonstrated in 2014-15 when the NSW Government structured its draconian lockout laws to protect Star's Sydney casino.

A key component of Crown's influence was its massive donations: over the last decade, it has handed about $1.2 million in donations to the WA and Victorian Labor and Liberal parties.