The Royal Commission has discovered yet another unethical operation at the Crown’s Southbank. Namely, players are allowed to play for hours on end without being approached by casino staff. Although the casino has a rule in place according to which players are not permitted to play for more than 12 hours without interruption, the investigation has found out one player gambled for 34 hours straight.

The inquiry into Crown’s Southbank’s sustainability has discovered that only then was he forced to take a break. Sonja Bauer, the casino’s gaming head, has stated staff encourages players to take breaks every 12, 15, and 17 hours via an alert system. Naturally, this goes for players who can be electronically tracked.

However, Bauer has admitted the staff does not check on players without electronic trackers. Instead, they rely on pure observations.

One of the inquiry counsels, Adrian Finanzio, has said the investigation has revealed that a VIP member played for 34 hours straight in 2019 before he was forced to take a break. He has also added that the system’s setup enables players to gamble for hours on end without taking a break.

Bauer has admitted that this situation could be possible due to the sheer size of the casino, as Crown Melbourne employs 12 people to monitor responsible gaming. However, commissioner Ray Finkelstein has contradicted Bauer, as security footage shows staff rarely stopping players when they hit the 12-hour mark. Instead, the general practice of the staff was to intervene only if a casino visitor played irresponsibly.

Although Bauer has stated that the waiters serving food and drinks on the floor had an obligation to report any irresponsible plays to the incoming staff, Finkelstein has disputed this by saying that it is not part of the Crown policy, adding that he didn’t notice anyone do that during his investigation. 

The Victorian government set up the inquiry into the casino chain after an NSW investigation found the Crown unsuitable for running its newly established casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo. In case you haven’t been keeping up on current events, the inquire has discovered that the Crown facilitated money laundering, made deals with junket operators, and even had links to organised crime. What’s more, the Crown exposed its staff to the risk of detention in China.

From 2016 to 2019, the Crown welcomed approximately 64,000 visitors daily but only employed 12 staff members to monitor responsible gambling. Furthermore, studies show that people gambling at Southbank are three times more likely to experience gambling-related problems than visitors at other Victorian venues.

The inquiry into Crown’s Southbank is in its third week, and it will continue with more evidence from Bauer.