Were Crown Casino employees tampering with slot machines to make players lose more? Lawmaker says yes, but James Packer says it’s a “lie”.
Anyone who understands slot machines knows that they are never programmed to work in the player’s favor. The built-in RNG and programmed payback percentage work in tandem to ensure the casino will always earn its due over the long term. So why would a land-based casino bother tampering with slot machines to further diminish payouts?
It may seem crazy, especially when the penalty for illegally altering slot machine payouts is far worse than any potential rewards. Yet that is exactly what one Australian federal lawmaker is accusing employees of the Crown Casino in Melbourne of doing.
Crown Casino Slot Machine Tampering
Slot machines—or as Aussies call them, poker machines, or pokies—are the absolute most popular form of gambling Down Under. In fact, gambling is more prevalent in Australia than it is anywhere else in the world. Thus the slots tampering scandal at Crown Casinos is one of the most volatile stories to strike the nation in years.
It all started about two weeks ago, when Australian federal lawmaker Andrew Wilkie made the shocking accusations against Crown Casino. His claims are based on the testimony of three former employees of the Melbourne casino. Wilkie said they came to him with their story of duplicitous trickery.
The unnamed whistle-blowers said that specific buttons on the machines were disabled, forcing players to employ less advantageous betting patterns. They further allege that some betting options were altered to encourage continuous and repetitive betting among players.
“These are very serious allegations,” Wilkie told Parliament. “They could indicate systemic issues in the broader poker-machine industry around the country.”
Packer Says Allegation “Is a Lie”
Multi-billionaire James Packers, whose fortune is largely derived from being the premier stakeholder in Crown Resorts, rebuffed the slot machine tampering allegations. He spoke briefly on the matter during the company’s annual general meeting with shareholders. In his version of the bigger picture, Wilkie is merely looking to create headlines.
“Maybe because we’re a bigger company or maybe because we’re more well known or maybe even because I’m more well known, Andrew Wilkie throws something into parliament which is a lie, which gets a lot of headlines,” Packer dismissed the accusations.
More To The Story Than Tampering with Slot Machines
The three former employees weren’t just blowing the lid off an alleged slot machine tampering scandal. They went on to tell Andrew Wilkie of another severe violation of Australian gaming regulations. According to them, the Crown Casino may have intentionally covered up money laundering.
Australian casinos are required to file transaction reports for any large cashouts, as part of the country’s anti-money laundering regulations. The anonymous informants claim that cashiers at the Crown Casino were encouraged to use multiple player club cards to split large transactions into smaller amounts, avoiding the report filing process.
Wilkie is an anti-pokies advocate and head of the PokieLeaks.org website, which touts its dedication to exposing the “dirty tricks this industry routinely uses”. Earlier this month, he implored Parliament to launch an investigation into both claims. If the accusations turn out to be true, it could spell disaster for Packer’s already flagging Crown Resorts enterprise.