Crown fined $300K over pokie tampering
CROWN Casino has been fined a record $300,000 for tampering with poker machines to remove some playing options.
Staff at the Southbank venue were found to have put objects over some betting options so only minimum and maximum betting options were available.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation handed down the fine this morning.
An investigation found that staff at the casino had tampered with the machines without approval
"Crown's failure to obtain approval means it has contravened the Gambling Regulation Act 2003," the VCGLR said in a statement today.
"This is the largest fine the commission has issued to Crown and reflects the seriousness with which it considers the matter."
The commission also asked Crown to provide an updated compliance framework within six months and explain how it will prevent this matter happening again.
The investigation found that some Crown staff had acted without seeking approval from management before changing the machines.
But Tim Costello, a spokesman for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said that this was a "board failure", not a problem with floor staff.
"They know everything at Crown. There isn't a business with more eyes and attention and security than the Crown Casino," he said.
"The board have to own this and it's time to fess up."
The changes to the machines did not short change the amounts paid out in winnings to players.
Crown said in a statement that its position was that it did not require VCGLR permission for the change but accepted the decision.
"Crown Melbourne respects the Commission's decision, which brings this matter to a close," the statement said.