In Australia, independent politician and anti-slot campaigner, Andrew Wilkie (pictured), has reportedly criticized the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) for completing its quinquennial review of a casino license held by Crown Resorts Limited without first hearing the testimony of a whistleblower.
According to a Tuesday report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, Wilkie lodged his disapproval regarding the examination of the casino license held by the Sydney-listed operator’s Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex via a letter sent to the Chairman for the VCGLR, Ross Kennedy, two weeks ago but has yet to receive a reply.
In his correspondence, the member of the Australian House of Representatives proclaimed that the Victoria gaming regulator should have considered testimony from a former Crown Resorts Limited employee that allegedly indicated the operator was turning a blind eye to the pervasive use of plastic picks to wedge down the buttons of slots. Such a practice, he explained, allows for non-stop spins along with play on multiple machines and was even supposedly being encouraged through the casino’s issuance of its own branded picks.
The newspaper reported that Wilkie’s letter had asked the VCGLR to investigate allegations raised by the whistleblower that the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex was additionally regularly issuing players with multiple loyalty cards so that they could enjoy simultaneous games on several slots.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the VCGLR’s finished assessment of the Melbourne casino’s license suitability is currently sitting on the desk of Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews while Wilkie’s letter had furthermore accused the regulator of ‘raising barriers to prevent proper investigation.’
The whistleblower had first approached Wilkie with his evidence but was subsequently rebuffed by the VCGLR due to his wish for anonymity. The 56-year-old politician claimed in his letter that the gaming regulator’s decision not to hear the man’s testimony had been ‘unfathomable’ as law enforcement officials and other state bodies ‘often take information from anonymous sources for investigation.’
“It is firmly my view that we agreed your office would take information my office provided, confidentially and anonymously if that is what the informant wanted, and then investigate it,” read Wilkie’s letter to Kennedy. “It’s particularly important right now as the government is considering the VCGLR’s secret results of its review about whether Crown [Resorts Limited] is a suitably entity to hold a casino license.”
A spokesperson for the VCGLR reportedly told The Sydney Morning Herald that the regulator ‘takes claims of potential breaches by licensees seriously’ and was currently ‘considering the concerns raised in the correspondence’ with the intention of responding ‘in due course.’