Record $120m Crown fine applauded

7 Nov 2022

The Alliance for Gambling Reform welcomes the maximum fine for Crown’s unethical

treatment of people at risk of, or experiencing gambling harm, following findings from the

Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne.


The findings show that Crown breached its obligations a staggering 4.8 million times over 12

years. Many of these obligations were around ensuring people are not using the poker

machines for long periods of time (over 18 hours).


Anna Bardsley, a woman who experienced significant harm at Crown, made a submission to the

Royal Commission and supported people who gave testimony.


“This is recognition from the regulator that predatory practices by the gambling industry are immoral and illegal. For those of us harmed by gambling, it feels like finally Crown is paying for its disgraceful treatment of people,” Ms Bardsley said.

“While $120 million is a drop in the ocean to Crown, it’s the fact they have been served the largest fine possible that counts."

The Alliance is calling for the Victorian government to commit to independent counsellors,

trained in gambling harm prevention, to be responsible for monitoring people who may be

experiencing harm from gambling products at the casino. It is abundantly clear the casino staff

cannot be trusted to do this work due to their clear conflict of interest in increasing profits for

the company which they work.


CEO of the Alliance, Carol Bennett said there were successive failures over many years by

casinos when it comes to their obligation to ensure people are not harmed by gambling.


“We have actually seen them encourage and incentivise people they already know to be at risk to gamble more. Asking casinos to be responsible for reducing harm is like putting Dracula in charge of the bloodbank’.” Ms Bennett said.

The VGCCC’s report highlights that the risk that people might experience gambling harm by

gambling for long periods without a break is not a risk unique to Crown which supports the

Alliance’s call for operating hours of poker machine venues to be reduced as a matter of

priority.


The Alliance is a national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimise the harm

from gambling. Our aim is to remove the shame that surrounds gambling addiction, have the

problem treated as a public health issue, and achieve the legislative changes needed to protect

our communities. We bring together well over 60 organisations who share the objectives of

preventing harm from gambling.

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704