Aussie regulator junks pokies tampering claims vs Crown Resorts

Aussie regulator junks pokies tampering claims vs Crown Resorts

Australian-listed casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd. may have dodged a fatal bullet during the review of its operating license after the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) brushed aside allegations that the casino tampered with its poker machines.

Aussie regulator junks pokies tampering claims vs Crown ResortsAn infuriated Australian MP Andrew Wilkie has accused the VCGLR of selling out to Crown after the regulator failed to consider the testimonies of two whistleblowers on the poker tampering issue due to technicalities, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report.

Wilkie claimed that the regulator threw out the statement of his first whistleblower because the man wished to remain anonymous, while the other whistleblower felt her testimony wouldn’t matter after she was told that the VCGLR investigator wasn’t interested in the tampering issue.

The Australian MP reminded VCGLR chair Ross Kennedy that the regulator has protocols that allow anonymous complaints.

“Police and regulators often take information from anonymous sources for investigation. It is firmly my view that we agreed your office would take information my office provided—confidentiality and anonymously if that is what the informant wanted—and then investigate it,” Wilkie said in his letter to Kennedy, according to the news report.

To his dismay, Wilkie claimed that the VCGLR has not responded to the letter he sent two weeks ago.

“I’m releasing this information because the public has a right to know how the Victorian state government and its gambling regulator operate,” Wilkie said in a statement.

The state regulator declined to comment on the issue but it assured the Australian MP that it “takes claims of potential breaches by licensees seriously.”

The MP has been roasting Crown over tampered pokies machines for some time now. Just recently, he submitted to the regulator and police some Crown-branded ‘picks’ that were allegedly used by a former high-roller to jam poker machine buttons to facilitate uninterrupted games.

In April, the VCGLR found Crown Resorts guilty of violating the Gambling Regulation Act of 2003 when the casino operator “adjusted” its gaming machines. Crown was hit with a AUD300,000 (US$226,608) fine, the heftiest punishment ever imposed on the company.