The independent Member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie revealed that Victoria’s gambling regulator dismissed the claims of a whistleblower who had previously raised a red flag about some serious misconduct at the Crown Casino. According to the information revealed by Mr. Wilkie, the regulatory body dismissed the claims because the person who made them wanted to remain anonymous.
Last year, the Government of the state of Victoria ordered the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to start an investigation, following Mr. Wilkie’s lobbying against the casino in the local Parliament. The independent Member of Parliament has been known for his campaigns against Crown Resorts, making some claims that the famous casino brand has not been in line with the local gambling legislation and regulatory rules.
Earlier in 2018, he brought some whistleblowers’ testimonials to the Parliament, airing allegations of misconduct. At the time, Crown Casino Melbourne also faced some claims that its staff has provided some of the casino’s regular customers with special Crown-branded picks to jam down the poker machines’ buttons allowing them to play continuously. Since the first allegations against the casino emerged, Mr. Wilkie said that other people have raised concerns about the casino through his office, too.
In a complaint filed to Victoria’s gambling regulatory body on June 20th, Mr. Wilkie revealed that the watchdog dismissed the testimony of two whistleblowers, who wanted to remain anonymous as they feared for their personal safety.
MP Wilkie shared that he was surprised with the decision of Victoria’s gambling regulator. He reminded that police and regulators often used information provided by anonymous sources for investigation of various crimes and misconduct.
Crown Suffers AU$300,000 Fine for Tampering with Pokies
For some time now, Crown Resorts have been facing some difficulties. Its Crown Casino Melbourne, which is currently the largest gambling venue in the country, was sanctioned earlier this year for tampering with some of the poker machines available there. At the end of April 2018, the VCGLR imposed an AU$300,000 fine on Crown Melbourne as a penalty for making certain modifications to pokies, so that more limited betting options had been offered to customers.
At the time when the monetary penalty was imposed at the casino, anti-gambling campaigners described the fine as the largest penalty of its kind which has ever been imposed by Australian regulators on a gambling operator.
The method used to limit the number of betting options available on some of the pokies at the casino is called “button blanking” and is considered a criminal activity under the state’s laws. Crown Casino Melbourne has initially denied that it had made any changes to the pokies but later admitted that some poker machines have been tampered with. The casino claimed that the modifications were made simply as a trial and did not intend to make any changes aimed at making players generate larger losses.