Melbourne’s Crown Casino is in the midst of another media storm following allegations that some of its pokies had been deliberately rigged to affect the outcome of a game.
In a 30-minute video, three former employees at Crown have claimed that certain pokies were tampered with in two ways. According to the whistle blowers, the buttons on some machines were fixed so that they would stick down and generate more bets.
On top of creating false action, Crown is also accused of removing the functionality of certain in-game features so that a player’s number of betting choices were reduced. Both claims would put Crown in breach of Victorian state laws, but that’s not the end of the charge sheet.
Charges Mounting Up
Also detailed in the video, which has since been submitted to Parliament by MP and PokieLeaks ambassador Andrew Wilkie, the ex-employees outlined the following issues:
Drug use and intoxication wasn’t controlled sufficiently inside the casino.
Some violent incidents went unreported.
Anti-money laundering procedures were sometimes manipulated for transactions over $10,000.
Since the allegations broke on October 18, Crown has publicly denied any wrongdoing. On top of denying any legal breaches, Crown Executive Chairman John Alexander has doubled down on the issue.
Crown Hits Back
Penning an open letter, Alexander hit out at Wilkie and stressed that the casino uses the latest anti-fraud technology to ensure its games are fair and safe for all players.
“I am angered and disappointed by the outrageous allegations that have been levelled at us by Andrew Wilkie. If he believes he has evidence of wrongdoing, he should stop the political games, step out of the parliament and make his claims without privilege,” wrote Alexander.
Despite Alexander protesting the company’s innocence, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation is now conducting a detailed investigation. At this stage it’s too early to tell how the issue will play out legally and financially for Crown.
However, in a statement made on October 24, Wilkie has said that more evidence from a fourth whistle blower has just been present to the police.
With Crown only recently in the clear for illegally promoting gambling in China, it looks as the company’s already beleaguered shares may take yet another battering.