Another former Crown Casino employee and whistleblower has joined three others in accusing the gaming operator in Melbourne, Australia of deliberately manipulating and tampering slot machines. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the latest accuser is a former employee of the casino who worked there for several years, and who wishes to remain anonymous.
In an interview with ABC, the latest informant claimed that certain functions were removed from machines when players were winning too much. One specific example he cited was the removal of the gamble function on the Players Choice Super machine.
“There was an instance where this particular game was paying out too much on the gamble function so technicians were instructed to remove the gamble button completely,” the anonymous ex-employee said. “It was physically removed.”
No Intermediate Betting Options
The former casino worker also said that IGT Blue Chip machines were altered to remove all betting options other than the maximum and minimum bet amounts.
In these cases, the moves likely wouldn’t have changed the return-to-player (RTP) percentages for these machines. However, the whistleblower says that the casino had other goals in mind.
“The reason behind that was to limit the play options for the players, to encourage them to play maximum lines and of course win maximum amounts of money,” he said.
The unidentified man says that he has not spoken to the police or the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) because of fears that he could be identified to powerful individuals at Crown Casino, amid fears for his safety.
Other moves were made to increase profits, he asserted. Under Victorian law, all slot machines (known as “pokies” Down Under) must offer a RTP of at least 85 percent. The former employee said many machines were set much higher than that, but would be reset to 85 percent on weekends in order to maximize revenues.
New Allegations Support Previous Claims
The new accusations follow those by three former Crown workers that were brought to public attention by an independent member of the Australian Parliament last month. Andrew Wilkie, who is known for his strong anti-gambling views, demanded that the federal government look into the allegations.
Those assertions mirror some made by previous whistleblowers, who said that buttons would be purposely removed or disabled to manipulate gamblers into certain betting patterns, and also that workers were asked to avoid reporting large transactions, something required by anti-money laundering regulations.
Crown Resorts founder James Packer responded strongly to the initial allegations, accusing Wilkie of spreading lies about his corporation.
“Maybe because we’re a bigger company or maybe because we’re more well-known or maybe even because I’m more well-known, Andrew Wilkie throws something into parliament which is a lie, which gets a lot of headlines,” Packer said.
The latest accusations have elicited a more measured response from all parties. Wilkie acknowledged that he didn’t know if the allegations were true, but said that they are serious, and called for a parliamentary inquiry. Meanwhile, Crown released a single-line statement, which read that “any allegations of this nature should be to be referred to the VCGLR.”
The VCGLR did not comment on the new revelations, due to their ongoing investigation into the claims against Crown.