The Victorian gambling commission found Crown Casino guilty of tampering with poker machines on Friday. The penalty for such a crime was deemed to be a fine worth $300,000, a contentious figure to say the least. The fine, intended to act as a deterrent, is considered to be no more than a ‘slap on the wrist’ for a casino that makes an annual turnover of hundred of dollars. This is in direct contrast with a statement from the Victorian gambling regulator, asserting that this is the ‘largest fine the commission has issued to Crown’, hoping it prevents this from reoccurring in the future.
Crown had instituted a 3 and a half weeks long trial of using blanking buttons on some of their pokies machines. These blanking buttons were found to limit players’ options of wagering bets on poker machines. Crown Casino offered a rebuttal for the fine, claiming it had received prior approval from the commission to institute the trial. They also emphasized that the blanking buttons did not affect the return to player ratio. The Melbourne casino finally relented, conceding that following the verdict it would bring a halt to the trial.
In the wake of the verdict by the Victorian gambling commission, there has been an overwhelming criticism of the value that Crown Casino was fined. This is in light of Crown Casino’s reputation of trying and failing to tread a fine line in relation to gaming conditions set by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR). Dr Charles Livingstone of Monash University contended that the amount of the fine meant that there were ‘no serious consequences for Crown’ amid the verdict. The gambling researcher insisted that more stricter penalties were needed to curb offences from happening again.
A week ago, an anonymous whistleblower alleged that Crown Casino staff instructed her to jam small picks in pokies machines to make the machine spin continuously. We are inclined to agree with Mr Livingstone; Crown Casino have gone for too long without incurring any serious punishment for its repeated contraventions of gambling laws. To get the latest updates about Crown Casino, keep your dial on Pokies.com.