Melbourne Crown casino has been fined A$300,000 (£160,000; $225,000) for tampering with slot machines to eliminate some of the betting options. Also referred to as blanking slot machines, this is a serious violation that has drawn an appropriate fine.
According to BBC.com, this is the largest fine ever leveled on an Australian gambling operator. And it comes when the casino giant is already struggling with its public perception.
How does Blanking Slot Machines Work?
Melbourne Crown blanked the slot machines, also called “pokies” in Australia, by covering up some of the betting options.
The purpose of doing so was to hide some of the middle-range bets during a trial run. Players were therefore forced to either make the minimum or maximum wagers, with nothing in between.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) took a harsh stance towards Crown Melbourne after finding out what they’d done.
“This is the largest fine the commission has issued to Crown and reflects the seriousness with which it considers the matter,” the VCGLR stated.
Australians lose more gambling than any other country per capita. And the large majority of their losses come through pokies.
Blanking Slot Machines was Done without Approval
The VCGLR noted that Crown Melbourne didn’t alter the payback of the pokies. And they weren’t deliberately trying to force gamblers into more losses.
But the big problem here is that they didn’t seek approval before tampering with the slot machines. Furthermore, they initially lied about blanking certain betting options.
“While Crown Melbourne’s position throughout this process was that the Gaming Machine Trial did not require the prior approval of the Commission, Crown Melbourne respects the Commission’s decision, which brings this process to a close,” the VCGLR noted.