A $300,000 Fine Has Been Issued in Victoria’s Crown Casino for Poker Machine Tampering
Crown Resorts, one of Australia’s largest gambling and entertainment companies, with assets over $8.7 billion dollars, has been issued a fine for $300,000 by the gambling regulator of Victoria State due to tampering at its casino in Melbourne in March and April of 2017. The tampering took place on 17 gaming machines on the floor of the casino, where buttons on the gaming machines were hidden, and gamers were only given two options: to place the minimum bet or the maximum bet.
The gaming commission noted that while changing the gaming machines is not illegal, not obtaining approval of the commission violates the Gambling Regulation Act of 2003. This act had several objectives, mainly to prevent minors from gambling, to ensure that gaming machines are free from tampering and exploitation by criminal elements, and to promote tourism with gambling interests by conducting honest odds at casinos. In addition, the commission ensures that the charitable contributions promised by gaming institutions arrive at their charitable destinations. The $300,000 fine represents the largest fine ever paid by the Crown Casino of Melbourne to the gaming commission.
Other gambling entities have faced allegations of gaming machine tampering. Russian hackers were able to break into casinos in Russia and tamper with bets and payouts. Individuals at casinos in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City have been accused and arrested for tampering with slot machines. Employees of casinos in the United States and Canada have also been arrested and fired for trying to tamper with slot machines, either for personal gain or to help a group or organization profit.
Other countries, most notably China, have also fined the casino group. In 2017, the Chinese government jailed 16 workers at a Crown Casino in Macau for its practices in luring high rollers to its casino. The casino company was fined $1.6 million dollars, and its workers, which included three Australians, were jailed for a period from nine to ten months. China’s jailing of its workers caused Crown, which is 49% owned by James Packer, to begin to withdraw and sell its assets on Macau in order to return to Australia. James Packer, an Australian billionaire who inherited a media holdings company in 2007, has also been accused of trying to bribe members of Israel’s government to obtain citizenship preference. In addition, one of Crown’s online ventures, CrownBet, has been accused of illegal advertisements in 2016 in New South Wales to lure gamblers to its site with incentives, which are illegal under Australia’s gaming laws.
Crown Casinos owns online and land-based casinos in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and the United Kingdom. Crown Casinos location in Melbourne is both a casino and a resort in Melbourne’s central business district. It is the largest casino currently in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of the largest casino resorts in the world. The resort boasts four hotels, and a gambling floor with over 540 tables and 3500 gaming machines. It is the headquarters for the World Series of Poker in the Asia-Pacific region. The resort boasts water features, pools, spas, concert venues, and shopping.
It remains to be seen how Crown Casinos’ reputation will be changed by both the tampering charges in Melbourne, the illegal advertising, and the allegations of payouts to high rollers in Macau. So far however, the allegations do not appear to be impacting the business much. The company reported over $2 billion dollars in earnings for the first quarter of 2018, and earnings per share rose by close to .20 per share in the first quarter. It would appear that Crown Casinos can more than afford its fine. It will remain to be seen if the company can continue to increase its share of the market.
Grayson met Thomas Winston at university and has stayed in touch ever since. Now living and working in America as a logistics specialist, Grayson has long shared Thomas’ love of real money online casino games but prefers roulette and craps to blackjack. She signed on readily as a contributor when Thomas told her he was planning to launch the Rick’s Picks site to share her experience, tips and tricks, when it comes to real money online casinos.
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