Crown Melbourne unprepared to prevent gambling harms, inquiry hears

Victoria's Royal Commission will decide if Crown is suitable to keep its Melbourne casino licence.
Victoria's Royal Commission will decide if Crown is suitable to keep its Melbourne casino licence.

Crown Melbourne employees didn’t encourage high-gamblers to take time out, Victoria’s Royal Commission has heard.

Australia.- Victoria’s Royal Commission has heard that Crown Melbourne employees were not prepared to discourage people from gambling after spending hours inside the venue.

An employee told the inquiry that he warned gamblers they could lose their VIP status if they chose to self-exclude.

A poker dealer at Crown Melbourne also said he wasn’t sure what “responsible service of gaming” meant. He said he had never advised a customer to go to a responsible gaming centre and had never had contact with the venue’s responsible gambling advisors.

Another dealer admitted he didn’t know the names of Crown Melbourne’s responsible gambling advisors and had never heard of Crown’s play periods policy to reduce the time customers gamble without taking a break.

In June, Adrian Finanzio, counsel assisting the inquiry, said Crown had not correctly implemented its responsible gambling programme. Finanzio said Crown Resorts had the resources to limit the harm caused by gambling addiction but that its programme had been inefficient.

Sonja Bauer, Crown’s general manager of responsible gaming, admitted failures and sent a letter stating the casino operator had resolved to implement a series of changes to the programme.

However, Finanzio said the proposed changes should have been implemented a long time ago, arguing: “The letter promises to stop things which, on one view, should never have been happening in the first place.”

Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Resorts will continue up to October 15 after the government approved judge Raymond Finkelstein’s request for an extension.

Finkelstein also asked for an increase in the commission’s funding from AU$10m to AU$19.75m to continue investigating Crown Resorts suitability to maintain its licence for its Melbourne casino

According to local media, Melissa Horne, minister for consumer affairs, gaming and liquor regulation, said: “The evidence we have seen coming out of the Royal Commission to date is significant. 

“We’ll provide the Commissioner with the resources and time required to complete this important work as requested.”

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Crown Melbourne land-based casino