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27 April 2010

Australian Casino Employees May Get Probed Says Campaigner, by Greg Tingle - 27th April 2010

Probing of Aussie casino employees hey... sounds a bit sinister...the sort of thing you might except on TV smash hits 'Underbelly', 'Sea Patrol', 'V' and 'Border Patrol'.

Media Man and Gambling911 take their probe to the latest to borrow our expressions. No imitators will be tolerated, Gambling911... often imitated, never duplicated... recent example being our massive story on Australian Internet Devices... we know who you are, and you're next to be probed...

Probing aka questioning prospective casino workers about their gambling habits and the like would be "discriminatory", an informer leaks.

The revelations come of the back on an inquest involving Adelaide's Skycity Casino.

Job applicants were quizzed if they were members of Skycity's awards program.

At the inquest Ms Bastian was being probed by Senator Nick Xenophon, who successfully campaigned to reopen an inquest into the death of Katherine Natt, a 24-year-old Skycity worker and pokies addict who unfortunately committed suicide in 2006.

Senator Xenophon desired the inquest to hear evidence on what possible assistance the casino could have offered the late Natt.

Coroner Mark Johns agreed to reopen the inquest but reminded Senator Xenophon yesterday he was on watch. "I don't want to get into a general analysis of the problem of gambling," Mr Johns told the senator, who is acting pro bono for Natt's family.

Ms Bastian, who has acted as HR manager at Skycity, said asking applicants about their gambling habits "would be considered discriminatory under industrial relations laws". "We don't say `do you have a gambling problem?' as such," she advised Senator Xenophon.

"If they have a gambling addiction but they come to work and are still able to fulfil their work, I don't see an issue."

Natt left a note apologising for being unable to stop her poker machine habit along with a bank statement showing $6000 had been withdrawn from her credit card account in less than two months.

Ms Bastian said while staff were encouraged to report colleagues with a gambling problem, no mandatory reporting system was in place. "There's only a moral obligation. "We can't monitor what 1000 employees do in their spare time. If a manager was aware of a staff member having a problem, the expectation was that they would action something."

The inquest heard that both a blackjack dealer and the manager of the casino's table games area knew of Natt's gambling problem but failed to report this.

Ms Bastian told the court HR had not had any issues with Natt in her five years at the casino.

"She looked like a model employee," Ms Bastian told the inquest.

Australian casinos (and pubs and hotels) are known to carry extensive signage warning patrons of the potential dangers of gambling, as well as the probability of winning. These public warnings are cited as to part of the reason for the explosive growth of the online casino and online gambling sector as a whole. PartyGaming, PartyCasino, Virgin Games, Captain Cooks, PokerStars, BetUs and Betfair are some of the most trusted and ethical brands. Australia's James Packer is hopeful to see his 50% owned Betfair soon offer Aussies a poker and casino product, but PartyGaming's casino and poker brands currently have a bit of a hold on the Australian online gambling sector. Cleopatra, Sinatra, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Goanna Gold are some of Australia's most popular online slot. Well informed insiders are leaking to Betfair and Crown Casino to offer a Kerry Packer, Ned Kelly and Underbelly online and offline slot game.

Media Man and Gambling911 remind the readership to know the odds, bet with your head, not over it. For god's sake, just keep it fun. We don't want to have to further probe on this, and would prefer to keep the probe tucked away in the cupboard and only use it in extreme cases. Have fun, good hunting and happy punting.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

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