Melbourne’s Crown Casino situated along the banks of the Yarra River is one of the most popular casinos in Australia. The casino is frequented by tourists who are looking to have some fun at the gambling tables and serious gamblers who are looking to make it big. The casino recently decided to put up a ‘Family Entrance’ sign on one of its entrances that is located on the Yarra River promenade.

This particular entrance receives a lot of foot traffic as people stroll along the banks of the Yarra and the casino wanted to promote itself as being family friendly as the entrance leads directly to a foodie zone where people can order a meal and spend time together as a family. The casino used huge green arrows to promote and advertise its new entrance and sign in an effort to bring in more customers.

This particular move and advertising campaign did not go down well with Tim Costello, the chair for the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce and Mark Zirnsak, the chair for the Victorian Interchurch Gambling Taskforce. Costello who is a strong anti-gambling campaigner has criticized Melbourne’s Crown casino for its ‘Family Entrance’ sign and says that the casino is trying to lure children and expose them to the gambling industry. He stated that the casino cannot promote itself as a family establishment because at its core the casino was a gambling establishment and did not promote a family friendly environment.

The Crown Melbourne rejected these allegations saying they were baseless and that the casino used the ‘Family Entrance’ sign on an entrance that led directly to the food zone and did not in any way expose minors to the gambling floor.

The Victorian government has taken Costello’s allegations seriously and has made it clear that it wants to safeguard children from being exposed to the hazards of gambling. In a statement, a representative of the Victorian government said “The Government shares the community’s concerns around the normalization of gambling practices in relation to children. Families visit entertainment complexes for a wide range of reasons other than for gaming, such as for meals or to socialize. Strong legislation is in place that clearly separates gaming areas from other areas in facilities used by families, whether it is Crown or a local RSL.”

The Crown casino might not have a strong case to push for being a family friendly environment as during the last 12 months the authorities have been investigating allegations that the casino’s premises are being used by the mafia as a recruiting ground to bring in drug mules and prostitutes.

Media reports coming out of Australia recently have seemed to focus heavily on positives or negatives related to Crown Resorts and Echo Entertainment while the companies battle head to head for a major license concession in the country.