Crown Resorts is rarely out of the headlines in 2017, especially since the arrests of their employees in Macau. At the time, their shares plummeted and the casino operator pulled out of their international investments. Unfortunately, the ongoing court case for their 18 Macau employees made for a tough year financially.
The Macau employees were eventually charged with promoting gambling, and some were released shortly after. However, three Australian executive employees received harsher punishments from Chinese authorities. Just when their troubles seemed to be at an end, accusations closer to home were brought to light. Four employees have made accusations towards management at the Crown Melbourne in the past month. They claim that the casino operator had tampered with slot machines on the casino floor.
The allegations were made public by a BBC video in October, which independent MP Andrew Wilkie supported. As an anti-gambling representative, Wilkie’s backing for the three initial complainants did not have the right effect, as many representatives doubted his claims. Since then, a fourth employee came forward to support the claims.
As a result of the video, Crown Resorts claimed that the accusations were unfounded and demanded that Wilkie provide his proof to the relevant authorities. This will not be the first time that Crown Resorts has been accused of slot tampering. A Melbourne pokie addict, Shonica Guy, filed claims in September of 2017 against the casino operator and pokie provider Aristocrat.
Guy claimed that the Aristocrat game, Dolphin Treasure, had a misleading return-to-player percentage. This percentage is worked out over thousands of games, and is used to determine whether or not a game is fair to players. The court found that the game needed to be tested to see whether or not it was fair.
A common thread for the slot tampering allegations against Crown Resorts shows that the Melbourne resort had been altering slots for years. According to the former employees, some buttons were physically removed, and return-to-player percentages were altered. Additionally, they claimed that payments made by players were also affected by illegal practices.
At the moment, things are not looking good for Crown Resorts and owner James Packer. However, the company has been attempting to fight allegations by re-examining their practices. Time will tell if the changes will have any effect. Until then, we’ll be keeping an eye on this story.