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CROWN CASINO IN HOT WATER OVER BUTTON REMOVAL

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It surfaced last year that Crown Casino was accused of tampering with their pokies machines. Evidence was provided by three whistle-blowers who brought the matter to the Federal Parliament.

One of the main concerns raised was that technicians had been instructed to remove the gambling button option on some pokies machines, which ultimately restricted gambler’s options. The floor technicians claimed that Crown Casino ordered them to make secret alterations on their pokies machines to increase the house edge and therefore player losses.

Crown Casino

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) officially confirmed on Monday that following on from investigations, they will now instigate proceedings against Crown for one of the main allegations of misconduct. Namely, the fact that Crown removed the low-betting options button on their poker machines. Disciplinary measures following on from the investigation could, at worst case, include the cancellation or suspension of Crown’s casino license. If Crown get off lightly, they could expect a fine or letter of censure.

Federal MP Andrew Wilkie further elaborated by stating the whistle-blowers alleged they had been instructed to remove three of the poker machines betting options. They removed the 5, 10, and 20 betting options, thereby lowering players options.

CROWN INSISTS BUTTONS REMOVED AS PART OF A LEGAL TRIAL

Crown advised on Monday that they have been informed in full of the impending disciplinary action instituted by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Crown also stated that the removal of the button in question formed part of a larger trial conducted by Crown Melbourne. The trial was scheduled for three weeks and involved 17 of the casino’s 2628 poker machines. They also insisted they did not need prior approval for this trial.

Mr Wilkie responded positively to the news that VCGLR intended to prosecute Crown Casino for acting illegally. He feels vindicated after Crown’s outright objection to the allegations when they surfaced back in October.

OTHER CLAIMS OF TAMPERING

Other wild accusations of tampering by anonymous ex-Crown employees were also made. Such as employees being asked to tamper with the betting buttons until they were depressed and couldn’t be unjammed. Therefore, forcing players to gamble non-stop at certain betting rates. Another wild accusation mentioned that staff were asked to confuse governments efforts in combating money laundering by changing player ID cards if large funds were processed. Any transaction over AU$10,000 would be tampered with in such a way.

The VCGLR did mention on Monday that they had fully investigated these other claims of tampering. However, they found no grounds that these occurred or warranted further action. As such the only charge that may stick is the one Crown have actually been prosecuted for.