Crown Casino Melbourne handed $120 Million Gambling Fine
For years, Crown Casino has been breaking the law. The Melbourne-based company was slapped with a record of $120 million in fines for repeatedly violating state gambling regulations which included not stopping people from playing games for long periods.
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has taken rigorous action against Crown for ongoing misfeasance, fining it even twice.
The gambling venue failed to stop players from using plastic picks for holding down poker machine buttons and allowing 24+ hours of nonstop play.
The Royal Commission found that the Melbourne casino had breached its code of conduct for responsible service in regards to gambling over 12 years. Fran Thorn, chair of the VGCCC, said that they prioritized revenue maximization over their obligations to players.
Fran Thorn quoted:
“For a long time, Crown had promoted itself as having the world’s best approach to problem gambling. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
The VGCCC has imposed the maximum $100m fine, which is the first time they’ve ever done so. When they approached the casino about changing their policy already in 2018, they were ignored. It turned out that this was a big problem because many people could have been protected. Last year, the royal commission heard stories of loss and suicide attempts linked to gambling which raised serious concerns.
Crown Casino has been ordered to pay a second fine of $20 million because of their failure in preventing players from using devices that held down pokie machine buttons and allowed them to play continuously on multiple machines at once. Crown ignored requests to stop supplying the button picks and take necessary steps.
With other findings from The Royal Commission, it is not surprising that VGCCC has considered further disciplinary action against Crown Casino.
Takeover by Blackstone
Crown Casino agreed to a $9 billion takeover by private equity group Blackstone last year. They received regulatory approval from the VGCCC earlier this summer following lengthy discussions about how to implement new leadership tactics which will help them better serve customers moving forward.
Crown added the following statement:
“We are genuinely remorseful for the failings of the past, and we are committed to becoming a world leader in the delivery of safe and responsible gaming and entertainment.The recently appointed new leadership team at Crown is driving a whole-of-company transformation program, designed to uplift the culture and build a better Crown which exceeds the expectations of our stakeholders.”
The VGCCC is pleased to see progress being made on Crown’s part, with an acceptance of responsibility and need for reform.
Is Crown Casino trustworthy?
Requested to Ms Thorn: Is Crown trustworthy?, she said:
“Crown is, I am aware, working very hard to be trustworthy and to meet the concept of what is a suitable associate.”
While state-based regulators are able to investigate and prosecute people who work at casinos, a huge regulatory gap exists because they only have power over those currently working in this field.
“That’s it,” Ms Thorn confirmed. “We can only deal with those who are there at the time.”
Last question to Ms Thorn if the regulator should have more powers, such as being able to prosecute past breaches of the law, she answered:
“I’m not really going to get into that discussion today, but we are responsible for over-sighting the casino and the people who are in place at the time.”
Category: Gambling industry