Crown Resorts Hit with More Accusations of Slots Tampering

Posted on: April 24, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: April 24, 2018, 10:45h.

Australia’s Crown Resorts is facing new accusations of slot machine tampering at its flagship Crown Melbourne Casino.

Crown Resorts slots
Long-time scourge of the Australian gambling industry Andrew Wilkie believes Crown Resorts’ gaming license should not be renewed until all slots-tampering allegations have been thoroughly investigated. (Image: The Examiner)

Longstanding anti-gambling lawmaker and perennial Crown Resorts adversary Andrew Wilkie announced this week he had been approached by a former VIP customer at the casino who claimed staff had provided her with “small plastic picks” to stick into the gaps between betting buttons on slot machines. These were used to keep the buttons depressed, allowing for automatic and continuous play.

The woman also claimed the casino issued her with multiple loyalty cards so she could earn loyalty points while playing multiple machines at once.

Police Informed

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, under Victorian gaming law, slots with non-stop spins are permitted in certain specially designated areas of the casino, but tampering with machines that must pass strict regulatory scrutiny could be against the law. For Wilkie, though, there is no doubt.

“I have raised [the allegations] with the VCGLR (Victoria state gaming regulator) personally earlier today,” he told SMH. “And I have also written to the chief commissioner of Victoria Police and suggested police also need to look at these matters, because if these matters are true, they would be criminal.”

Previous ‘Button Blocking’ Accusations

In March, the VCGLR announced it would commence disciplinary proceedings against Crown after finding evidence of “button blocking” at the Crown Casino Melbourne.

The regulator’s investigation was prompted by the allegations of three “anonymous whistleblowers” – all ex-Crown employees – who testified to Wilkie they had been ordered to “shave down” betting buttons on slots so customers could jam them in and gamble non-stop.  The whistleblowers also claimed they were instructed to remove, or “blank out,” certain low betting options on the machines.

Crown countered that between March and April 2017 it had conducted a three-week trial on 17 of the casino’s 2,628 slot machines. The operator said it did not seek regulatory approval for the trial because it didn’t violate any gambling laws.

Nevertheless, these are unwelcome allegations for Crown Resorts at a time when its license is up for review. Wilkie said he believes there is “no way the license should be renewed until all the allegations have been fully investigated”.

“If Crown is found to be guilty of any offences in regard to any of the individual allegations, then I think a cloud hangs over the renewal of their license,” he added.