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Crown Resorts Promises to Improve Responsible Gaming Program in Victoria

Posted on June 3, 2021 | 10:32 am

Crown Resorts, the biggest land-based casino operator in Australia, has received criticism from the royal commission in the state of Victoria for not improving the company’s responsible gaming policies.

The government of Victoria has appointed a royal commission to investigate Crown Resorts earlier this year, after the company was found to have facilitated money laundering by a report in New South Wales. Crown Resorts is also investigated in Western Australia.

The investigation in Victoria will eventually decide whether Crown Resorts should continue to hold a license to operate their casino in Melbourne, one of the biggest and most attractive in the country.

So far, the commission has concluded that gamblers at Crown Melbourne are three times more likely to experience gambling harm than those betting at other venues. That is due to the company’s lack of determination when it comes to implementing responsible gaming policies.

In fact, the commission pointed out that there are just 12 responsible gambling advisers at Crown Melbourne, a venue which hosts around 64,000 visitors every day. According to commissioner Raymond Finkelstein, the 12 advisers can’t be expected to look out for people suffering from gambling problems because, given their reduced numbers, that would be “physically, humanly impossible.”

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Crown Resorts Promises to Take Action

Confronted with the evidence, Sonja Bauer, Responsible Gaming General Manager at Crown Resorts Limited, admitted that her company cannot claim to be a “world leader” when it comes to implementing responsible gambling practices.

The Australian company sent a letter to the royal commission, promising that the number of responsible gaming advisers at Crown Melbourne will be immediately increased from 12 to 17. However, the venue features 2,628 poker machines, while all pubs and clubs in Victoria are required to have at least one responsible gaming adviser for every 105 poker machines.

The whole issue could have a significant impact on Crown Resorts, because the commission might find that the company’s lack of action when it comes to responsible gaming could be interpreted as a breach of the license. And if that license would be revoked, then Crown Resorts would no longer be able to operate their casino in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, the company has received a proposal that could mean a way out of trouble: a merger with The Star Entertainment Group, the company that owns and operates The Star Sydney, The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane.

Source: “Crown in last-minute overhaul as inquiry targets gambling addiction ‘failures’“The Sydney Morning Herald. June 1, 2021.

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