Dear Premier Andrews and Minister Kairouz,
Crown Casino’s pokie machines are creating huge damage in our community, and people are getting hurt. These addiction machines cause massive financial stress that leads to family breakdown, crime, job loss, depression and suicide.
Crown Casino thinks it can get away with causing even more harm. They have been caught tampering with pokie machines to increase player losses, even while under investigation by the VCGLR. The gambling regulator has been ineffective in monitoring and stopping these harmful and dodgy practices.
It’s time to remove all special laws and regulations that allow Crown Casino to maximise losses. We also need a parliamentary inquiry into Victoria’s gambling regulator, and to ban all political donations from the gambling industry to ensure our gambling laws are free from corporate influence.
How Crown Casino is gaming the system
TAMPERING WITH POKIES
Crown Casino has been caught out tampering with pokies in order to maximise player losses, such as blanking out buttons so only minimum and maximum betting options were available. Fresh evidence also shows that Crown provides players with plastic picks to jam buttons down so they can gamble non-stop.
DONATIONS TO POLITICAL PARTIES
Political donations are often used by corporations to gain access to politicians, and influence law making. Crown regularly makes donations to the Labor, Liberals and Nationals political parties across Australia. Crown has donated more than $1.4 million over the past 10 years, with the total donations steadily increasing over the past decade.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is the state’s gambling regulator, and widely known for being a toothless tiger. In 2017 a Victorian Auditor-General’s Office investigation delivered a scathing report on the regulator, finding that it was failing to do its job, cutting corners and not sufficiently monitoring gambling venues like the casino.
ABOVE THE LAW
It is illegal for pokies to run on continuous play in Victoria, but Crown Casino is largely exempt from this law. That’s because there is a loophole that allows the gambling regulator (VCGLR) to allow some locations to be exempt from this law, and the VCGLR has assigned most of the casino premises to be exempt.
An inside look at Crown’s political donations
Australian corporations donate millions of dollars to the old political parties, and they do it to gain access to politicians and influence laws to benefit their businesses. This is no secret – lobbyists from a range of industries have publicly admitted to using this strategy.
Crown is no exception. It has donated more than $1.4 million in the past decade to the Labor, Liberals and Nationals parties across Australia, particularly in Victoria and Western Australia where Crown owns casinos in Melbourne and Perth.
It’s clear that Crown’s donations are having an impact. You only need to look at the voting records of Labor, Liberals and Nationals MPs when faced with a gambling bill in parliament. They will overwhelmingly vote to prop up casinos and the gambling industry, at the expense of people in the community who are left to deal with the destruction from addictive pokies.
What’s the solution?
Parliamentary inquiry into the gambling regulator
Victoria’s gambling regulator, the VCGLR, is failing to effectively monitor Crown Casino and make sure they’re complying with the law and operating responsibly. The Victorian Parliament needs to investigate the full extent of the VCGLR’s failings so we can take the necessary steps to ensure we have a strong, effective regulator that puts people before the gambling industry.
Ban on political donations from gambling industry
Crown Casino and other corporations in the gambling industry use political donations as a tool to gain access to politicians and buy influence. This inevitably results in laws that put corporate interests ahead of the community. We urgently need a ban on all political donations from the gambling industry in Victoria.
Change the law to stop Crown’s exemptions
Victoria’s gambling laws are already pretty weak and don’t do a good job of protecting the community. What’s worse is that Crown is exempt from many of these laws, which means they have been able to inflict even worse damage. At a minimum, we need to remove any exemptions in the law and bring Crown Casino in line with other pokies venues.