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Crown Casino rejects whistleblower allegations it tampered with poker machines

18 October 2017 12:07 AM
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Crown Resorts rejected allegations on Wednesday that were made by several men who claimed they are former employees of one of its casinos.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie earlier tabled a video interview featuring three men reportedly blowing the whistle on alleged misconduct at a Crown casino.

"[Crown] rejects the allegations made today under parliamentary privilege by Mr Andrew Wilkie MP, as reported in the media, concerning the improper manipulation of poker machines and other illegal or improper conduct at Crown Casino in Melbourne," it said in a statement to the stock exchange.

"Crown calls on Mr Wilkie to immediately provide to the relevant authorities all information relating to the matters alleged."

Mr Wilkie lodged the videotape with the Parliament House tabling office on Wednesday morning.

The heavily pixelated vision runs for around 30 minutes and contains a series of allegations from the men - who claim to be former casino employees - about the use of pokies and other practices at Crown casino in Melbourne.

“Today, very serious allegations have been levelled at the poker machine industry,” Mr Wilkie said.

Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, October 18, 2017 (AAP)

He said he believed the whistleblowers and was "very confident these are men who know what they are talking about".

In the video, the men allege the casino was complicit in tampering with buttons on pokie machines to limit betting options, driving people to choices that were more profitable for the casino.

They also allege machines were paying out prizes at a rate below the legally required rate. Casino staff would also allegedly move pokie machines around and reset their algorithms because machines would "generally run low at the start of the life of the machine".

The men in the video also allege the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation was aware of Crown's actions and ignored them.

"They were definitely abiding by what was going on, almost to the point of aiding and abetting," one of the men alleges.

The VCGLR told SBS News it regularly inspected and audited the casino.

"We take any claims of this type extremely seriously and they will be thoroughly investigated," a spokesperson said in a statement.

"The VCGLR maintains constant oversight of the Melbourne Casino and has taken active steps over the past 12 months to improve our level of supervision of the Casino. This includes establishing a specialist dedicated Casino team."

The whistleblowers also allege some casino staff would turn a blind eye to high-rolling customers who struck their partners, or who used recreational drugs.

“Although the allegations focus on Crown in Melbourne, they could also suggest a broader pattern of behaviour in the poker machine industry which would obviously have grave implications for people right around Australia," Mr Wilkie said.

"If Members and Senators, law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and the media, scrutinise the video record of the whistleblowers’ testimony, I’m sure they’ll agree that the claims warrant an immediate and strong response."


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