Crown Resorts criticised over problem gambling plans

By Violeta Prockyte

Crown Melbourne has finally provided the problem gambling documents requested by the Royal Commission investigating the operator.

The Victorian inquiry, which was started after Crown Resorts' alleged involvement in money laundering, is in its third week.

The documentation includes a letter from Crown in which the company proposes increasing staff levels and introducing set playing times for customers as a way to combat problem gambling.

This would mean guests would be able to play for 12 hours in a 24-hour period, instead of the 18 hours that is the current standard.

General consensus is that while Crown wasn’t explicitly late, the operator should have been quicker to produce the required documents. The documents came just before the Commission is set to focus on the casino’s responsible gaming program.

"The letter promises to stop things that, on one view, should never have been happening in the first place," said Commissioner Ray Finkelstein. "The changes proposed amount to an implied admission that some practices are inconsistent with the responsible service of gaming."

Recently, the casino was criticised for allowing a VIP to gamble for 34 hours straight. And currently, staff encourage players to take a break after 12 hours only.

Additionally, guests can withdraw up to AU$200 ($155) in cash whenever they purchase drinks at the bar. According to Adrian Finanzio SC, guests at the Melbourne casino are more susceptible to problem gambling than in other venues.

The Melbourne venue is currently closed until 10 June, as Victorian authorities deal with a new outbreak of Covid-19. 

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