Australia’s Crown Under Review

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If there’s been one country to feel the negative effects of gambling, that’s Australia. Anti-gambling campaigners have intensified their pitch in recent years. But far from targeting illicit online operations, the experts are warning against Melbourne’es multi-billion-dollar behemoth, the Crown casino.

The casino, they say, is “rife with irresponsible gambling,” and that is quite the accusation to make. However, such allegations are seldom unfounded. A new report has been handed to the Victorian government, indicating that Crown has been flaunting gambling laws and avoiding social obligations in a bid to boost its own profit.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has just handed in its sixth report assessing the casino and its operations. More ominously still, the review has to do with whether the casino is still eligible for a licence given the seriousness of its alleged transgressions. Meanwhile, anti-gambling sentiment has been growing in the region.

Not So Social After All

The audit has focused on examining how well Crown minimizes harm from gambling and to what extent the practices adopted at the casino are indeed considerate responsible gambling.

Crown’s not just grossly neglecting its responsibilities. It’s, in fact, tinkering with devices and cooking the books, the report went on. The casino uses 1,000 that are “unrestricted poker machines”, meaning people are easily sucked into playing repeatedly.

More daunting revelations have been made in the past. Allegedly, the casino had used tools to jam poker-machine buttons, which led to a better oversight of the casino. And the oversight has paid off. Crown has less than an excellent reputation these days.

However, there’s also the possibility of the casino exploit loopholes. According to University of Sydney’s Gambling
Treatment and Research Clinic
director Alex Blaszczynski, it’s possible that this is also a legislative overlook, meaning that ultimately the onus is back on the lawmakers to review their stance and backtrack some of the changes that allowed Crown to utilize devices that favor the casino more than legally possible.

The Blame Game

Rules have been lax, indeed, and Crown has run a successful business allowing itself to explore all the legal loopholes to keep its model vibrant. With the addition of machines that spin quicker, for instance, it’s obvious that the casino had managed to rake in a substantial chunk of money.

However, officially, Crown is still committed to responsible gambling. According to a spokesperson, the casino acknowledges that some customers have difficulties with their gambling and for that particular reason alone, Crown is willing to invest in responsible gaming programs and services.

Here’s the snag, however. Australia doesn’t have a well-pronounced anti-gambling body, as it does in the UK. Granted, anti-gambling may be a misnomer, as the campaigns in the UK try to help people steer clear from dangerous practices.

And so, Crown invests in its own anti-gambling initiatives which beg the question – are they just smoke and mirrors given the track record of the casino? If it’s intentionally incentivizing players to burn through piles of cash, we have some serious doubts about the nature of the gambling programs it so vehemently professes to uphold.