Crown Resorts Hit With Record Fine of AU$120m for Responsible Gambling Failings

  • The fine relates to two main issues that came to the fore during a royal commission into Crown
  • AU$100m (US$65m) of the fine relates to Crown allowing patrons to gamble for 24 hours
  • The other AU$20m (US$13m) is issued for allowing patrons to manipulate gaming machines
  • Crown has been hit with fines totaling AU$200m (US$129m) by the Victorian regulator this year
Australian dollar bills
Crown Resorts has been hit with an AU$120m (US$77.7m) financial penalty by Victoria’s gambling regulator for responsible gambling failings. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sending a strong message

Crown Resorts has to pay a financial penalty totaling AU$120m (US$78m) for responsible gambling failings at its casino in Melbourne. The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) made an announcement on Monday regarding the penalty action, explaining how the fine sends a strong message that it will not tolerate any misconduct.

fine relates to two different problems

The total fine relates to two different problems that came to the fore following a royal commission inquiry into the casino company’s license suitability.

The VGCCC chair Fran Thorn commented on the regulatory action on Monday. Rather than the failings being isolated regulation breaches, she claims they were “part of a pattern of extensive, sustained and systemic failures by Crown that spanned roughly 12 years.”

Details of the penalty

Of the AU$120m (US$78m) that Crown has to pay, AU$100m (US$65m) relates to Crown allowing patrons to gamble for over 24 consecutive hours. Some people were found to have continually gambled for two or three days straight. AU$100m (US$65m) is the max financial penalty that the Victorian regulator is able to issue for one failing.

The VGCCC fined Crown another AU$20m (US$13m) for its failure to prevent gamblers from utilizing plastic picks to gamble automatically on certain gaming machines. Some customers would use small plastic items to lodge buttons so they could play spin after spin without having to manually trigger the next round.

supplied branded plastic picks to certain patrons

Crown allegedly even supplied branded plastic picks to certain patrons. People were also able to lodge different types of cards into poker machines in order to play various games simultaneously. The regulator deemed this behavior a major contradiction to Crown’s claim that it was a world leader when it came to responsible gambling.

Making changes

Following the announcement of the financial penalty, Crown issued its own statement on Monday afternoon. The operator said it is “genuinely remorseful for the failings of the past.” It also highlighted how the new management team is driving a widespread transformation of the business, with plenty of work still to be done.

Crown has doubled its expenditure in the area of responsible gambling over the previous 18 months. VGCCC chair Fran Thorn also noted on Monday that Crown is working “very hard to be trustworthy and to meet the concept of an acceptable associate.”

Multiple instances of negative public press have resulted in major changes to Crown as a company. US private equity giant Blackstone is leading the charge in this regard after its AU$9bn (US$6bn) takeover of the company in June.

Crown Resorts has now received fines totaling AU$200m (US$129m) over the past six months. As well as the AU$120m (US$78m) in penalties announced on Monday, the company was also hit with an AU$80m (US$52m) fine by the Victorian regulator in May for facilitating illegal transfers of funds out of China for patrons.