Victoria’s Royal Commission has highlighted failures in Crown Resorts’ responsible gambling programme.
Australia.- On a new day of public hearings held by Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Resorts, Adrian Finanzio, counsel assisting the inquiry, said Crown had not correctly implemented its responsible gambling program.
Finanzio said Crown Resorts had the resources to limit the harm caused by gambling addiction but that it’s 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.”
Finanzio believes Bauer’s letter is an implied admission that some of Crown’s practices were inconsistent with its responsible gambling programme.
He said there is evidence that people at Crown Resorts were three times more likely to experience gambling harm than those who gambled elsewhere
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Crown Resorts said it would increase the number of responsible gaming advisers (RGAs) at Crown Melbourne from 12 to 17.
However, Crown currently has one RGA on duty for every 870 poker machines. Victorian pubs and clubs are ordered to have one RGA for every 105 machines.
Victoria’s Royal Commissioner, former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, who is currently carrying out an inquiry into Crown will continue its public hearings until June 4.
Last week, Deloitte partner Lisa Dobbin said there had been suspicious transactions potentially linked to money laundering at Crown up until at least February of this year.
A preliminary report suggested a large sum of money had been divided across 14 accounts to avoid the AU$10,000 disclosure threshold.
Deloitte is also focusing on so-called patron accounts, used by Crown Resorts to allow customers to deposit money for use at casinos. It says these accounts could potentially be used for money laundering.
Dobbin said the audit is in its preliminary stages. A final report is expected by August.
Crown Resorts is also seeking to introduce cashless gaming. The proposal was supported by Nick Stokes, Crown’s anti-money laundering manager.
Stokes stated: “I think from an anti-money laundering perspective it would help us considerably. Being able to track all transactions above a certain threshold.
“I think [up to $2,000 on the card] would be reasonable … that would track play… at the moment we’re not capturing all play: it depends on whether someone’s playing card or uncarded.”
Regulators in New South Wales called on Crown to introduce cashless gaming as one of the measures it proposed after its inquiry into the operator.
The cashless proposal has also been supported by members of religious institutions and community service organisations, who said it could have a considerable impact on people who are experiencing gambling harm.
Rev Tim Costello, chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform said the cashless gambling system should be linked to verified ID and to self-exclusion registers.
He also said it must include low load limits to ensure people regularly take breaks from gambling. He’s also called for a ban on credit card gambling.