Crown Casino, Australia's leading land based casino and prize jewel of gambling and media tycoon James Packer, is publicly fighting back against a number of serious allegations being thrown at them. Media Man and Gambling911 play devil's advocate as we bring you this special report on the cafe and pub talk about Crown...
In the past year or so most of the media reports on James Packer owned Crown Casino have been balanced, with a number of even positive reports, but now a new batch of negative stories, allegations and even a spot of "attack journalism" is starting to read its ugly head again.
Casino Casino bosses are not happy in the least about a bush tucker bag of allegations being leveled at their gambling and entertainment premises.
One of the more gross allegations is that Crown was accused of letting desperate gamblers urinate at machines during 24-hour pokie marathon sessions!
Other leaks say Crown throws fights into the street and tries to cover up crimes and other unwanted attention.
The hard hitting allegations are found in a report based on interviews with 225 current and former Crown casino staff who spoke out about their impressions of the level of violence, problem gambling and alcohol abuse inside Australia's biggest gambling venue.
A number of Australian media and gambling commentators believe the reports may have been geared to generate negative results for the casino, and that a large number of former staff and disgruntled current staff may have been tricked into focusing on negatives, and that somehow the Uni compiled report was designed to make Crown Limited look bad.
The so call "study" was conducted by Deakin University researchers, sphere headed by Associate Prof Linda Hancock. Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union staff agreed to participate in the industry-wide research.
The most disgusting allegation was that some one armed bandit players stood by the same pokies for up to 24 hours, with one respondent saying they "sit there and just wee, go to the toilet at the machine"
Crown Casino advises that allegation is not true.
Some staff also allege that Crown Casino is:
Permits patrons to gamble when drunk, even though it is against the law in Victoria
Calling taxis RSL cabs, Silver Service etc) for injured patrons and staff to avoid an ambulance incident report.
Permitting punters to stay on pokies for 24 hours plus marathon sessions or more.
Forcing drunks onto the street.
Covering up up 20 to 30 brawls per evening, with up to 40 punters a night being escorted out onto the street. This is mostly due to fighting, and sometimes patrons used knives and bottles.
Dr Hancock states her research showed a "systematic breakdown between Crown, government and regulators who don't enforce codes of practice".
The report that some say is bias, was rigged, and not accurate, also demonstrates poor awareness among staff of problem gambling, with half of those interviewed saying they wouldn't intervene if a gambler was in a distressed state.
A media spokesperson at Media Man said "The results of the report are not a total surprise. It's well known that there is an agenda from certain parts of the educational and political sector to get negative press on Crown Casino. Whispers are that the report was focusing on negatives and that they interviewed people who were not happy at Crown and has an axe to grind. They have used this report to try to create a media beat up, and also trying to generate attack journalism. University reports are often used to try to give certain agendas more credibility Do not believe everything you read, including from University reports. We know Crown Casino to do an excellent job of dealing with problems and are a very responsible employer. The report smells of a rat".
Crown casino spokesman Gary O'Neill said the comments in the report were all false and did not deserve to be described as "research: (a term also used to describe Japanese whaling).
"Crown absolutely denies that staff are encouraged or allowed to permit patrons to gamble while intoxicated," he said.
O'Neill said ambulances were regularly called to Crown and he denied claims that responsible gaming codes were being ignored.
At the time of press more media outlets are starting to go public saying there are flaws in the "research" and that Crown Casino haters are trying to create media beat-ups.
Crown Casino is understood to be considering some reality TV concepts and also is pursuing more national and international top line acts to add to its overall entertainment experience, as the famous Aussie casino wars continue with its main competitor being the embattled Tabcorp, owner - operator of Sydney's Star City, who are spending roughly 1 million dollars to try to play catch up to Crown - eventually wanting to become #1. Good luck Tabcorp, you will need it in spades.
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Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Is Crown Casino good or evil? Tell us in the forum.
If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.
*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911
*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.
*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited
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