Crown Resorts Limited facing Melbourne slot-tampering investigation

Frederick Owens
October 19, 2017

Crown Resorts Ltd. based in Australia has been accused on Wednesday of tampering with its poker machines, when a lawmaker played a video of whistleblowers during parliament, which helped to send shares tumbling at the casino company.

The allegations came via video from three former Crown employees, which Wilkie presented.

CANBERRA, Australia-If gamblers at Crown Casino thought their slot machines were being stingier than usual, it may have been because employees were giving the one-armed bandits a little extra muscle.

The governmental agency that oversees the Melbourne casino of Crown's, said that it takes claims made of this type very seriously and would be carrying out a thorough investigation.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie used federal parliamentary privilege on Wednesday to make the allegations about the gaming giant at its Melbourne gaming precinct. "You basically remove betting options from the machine".

The three whistleblowers said they had also been directed to use different player ID cards when processing transactions of more than US$7,845 to avoid attracting the scrutiny of anti-laundering authorities and police.

Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie told the Parliament's Federation Chamber that a string of former Crown employees had made the allegations that also include turning a blind eye to domestic violence abuse and manipulating poker machines to extract bigger losses from punters. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation said in a statement the accusations would be "thoroughly investigated".

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Australia has the world's highest gambling loss per head, according to recent research by United Kingdom consultancy H2 Gambling Capital, with Australians losing an average of A$1,260 previous year.

Slot machines-known in Australia as pokies-account for half of the $14 billion lost Down Under each year.

In August, industry analyst Morningstar also warned that Crown Resorts faced a long recovery in its lucrative China-based VIP business following the arrests a year ago and conviction of some Crown employees in China for gambling offenses.

If the video allegations are true, it suggests evidence of systematic problems instead of just a rogue individual, said Wilkie during his new conference.

On the video recording, people who were not identified and whose faces had been pixelated so they could not be identified, accused the Melbourne casino owned by Crown of fixing its poker machines through removing controls that are built-in that are created to regulate the gambling rates.

"I don't have that much confidence in the gambling regulator because some of the allegations from the whistleblowers is that the gambling regulator didn't adequately investigate this".

Federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the minor party will work with Nick Xenophon Team on a motion for a Senate inquiry into how casinos are regulated in Australia.

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