Australian casino operator Crown Resorts has once again appeared in the epicenter of a scandal. Three former employees have brought the company to the court, claiming that the Crown Resorts is manipulating its slot machines and it hushed up a potential money laundering scheme at its largest casino in Melbourne. On Wednesday, independent Member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie presented video evidence in Canberra Parliament, in which the three former workers make their accusations to the company. The casino operator, known to be owned by James Packer, refused any involvement in illicit activities.
Crown Resorts’ reputation seems to be hit again by the shocking accusations made by three of its former workers, whose identity remained undisclosed. They accused the company of manipulating its slot machines at its Melbourne casino. Details were provided that the casino operator allegedly added modifying buttons that allowed players to play automatically and lose significant amounts in no time.
Here it is important to note that slot machines, or poker machines as they are known in Australia are one of the most wide-spread gambling activities across the country. Concerns regarding gambling-related problems were voiced. According to recent statistics, Australian residents lose around A$12 billion per year on gambling activities.
Apart from this, Crown’s former employees explained that the company stimulated its employees to use different identity cards for money transactions higher than A$10,000. In that way, the operator could skirt Australia’s anti-money laundering regulations and it does not need to report any suspicious transactions to the Australia’s financial watchdog.
The independent Australian policymaker Andrew Wilkie presented the evidence in front of the Parliament. On Wednesday this week, he gave a speech in Canberra under parliamentary privilege, granting him legal immunity. Mr. Wilkie took the opportunity to support his stance, opposing the presence of the slot machines across the country. He asked competent authorities to conduct an investigation on the matter. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation announced that it is to investigate the case as part of the regular review of Crown Melbourne’s gambling license, which is conducted in every five years. Supposing that the allegations prove to be true, it will point out a significant loophole in the country’s gambling legal framework.
Crown Resort’s Previous Offences
This is not the first time, in which Crown Resorts is involved in a gambling scandal. As it can be recalled, some of Crown Resorts employees were detained in mid-October 2016 in China for the illegal promotion of gambling services. They offered Chinese residents organized tours to the Australian casino operator’s gambling properties masked as tourism activity. Promoting gambling activities throughout Mainland China is considered an illicit activity. Earlier this year, Crown Resorts was brought to the court by another former employee, who claimed that the operator failed to meet the health requirements at the workplace.
All these accusations reflected on the company’s reputation in a negative way, so that its revenue for the 2017 fiscal year plummeted to A$308.9 million, or 21.5 compared to the 2016 fiscal year.