How a problem gambler was lured into Melbourne’s Crown Casino to pick up free Phil Collins tickets

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How a problem gambler was lured to Crown Casino to pick up free Phil Collins tickets – before throwing $30k on the tables

  • Punter was lured to Crown Casino with free Phil Collins tickets and lost $30k
  • Melbourne casino offers prizes and giveaways to people based on loyalty
  • Royal Commission in Crown’s Practices Says Casino Doesn’t Address Addiction

A gambler was lured to Crown Melbourne with free tickets to a Phil Collins concert before betting $30,000, a royal commission has said.

The Royal Commission was set up by the Dan Andrews Labor government after an investigation by NSW found Crown unfit to run the newly built casino at Barangaroo in Sydney.

Counsel representing Geoffrey Kozminsky said on Friday that Southbank’s casino was offering its customers a range of prizes and giveaways, all with the aim of increasing how often and for how long they gamble.

“Nothing is free,” the problem gambler told the inquiry into whether Crown can hold a license for its Melbourne operations.

“It’s all calculated, it’s pretty smart. They know how to play you and they play you very well.’

A gambler was lured to Crown Melbourne with free tickets to a Phil Collins concert before betting $30,000, a royal commission has told

A gambler was lured to Crown Melbourne with free tickets to a Phil Collins concert before betting $30,000, a royal commission has told

Crown’s marketing chief admitted it was a “successful result” that the man ended up blowing up $30k at the casino after collecting his free Phil Collins tickets

Kozminsky asked Crown’s marketing chief Nicolas Emery whether it was a “successful outcome” for the casino if the man gambled $30,000 after entering the casino to pick up his tickets.

Mr Emery said yes.

Crown spends about $500 million each year on promotions, Mr. Kozminsky told the study, with the “main goal” simply being to get people into the building.

He added that people who gamble at Crown Melbourne are three times more likely to experience problem gambling than those who use other gambling establishments in Victoria.

But Mr Kozminsky said Crown spent just $1.9 million addressing problem gambling in 2019, a figure he dismissed as a “rounding error” compared to their marketing spend.

He also said that only 616 of the estimated 23 million visitors to the casino in 2019 were blocked from the promotions after they excluded themselves or were identified as problem gamblers.

The royal commission was set up by the Dan Andrews Labor government after an NSW inquiry found Crown unfit to run its newly built casino at Sydney's Barangaroo (pictured)

The royal commission was set up by the Dan Andrews Labor government after an NSW inquiry found Crown unfit to run its newly built casino at Sydney's Barangaroo (pictured)

The royal commission was set up by the Dan Andrews Labor government after an NSW inquiry found Crown unfit to run its newly built casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo (pictured)

Emery said Crown is not considering whether its customers can actually afford to gamble at the levels necessary to qualify for the benefits and giveaways when the casino sends out promotional materials.

The marketing chief also revealed that he had not read Crown’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming since a brief training session when he joined the group in January 2018.

Meanwhile, Shane Lucas, head of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, said Crown Melbourne enjoyed a range of gaming restrictions unique to the state.

He said the Southbank casino’s poker machines can be used 24 hours a day, many of which spin faster and accept larger stakes than those found in pubs and clubs.

‘The casino has one particular working environment; industry has another one,” Mr Lucas told the inquiry.

“We need consistency between what happens in the casino and what happens in pubs and clubs. That would be a good starting point to prevent and reduce gambling damage.

Crown Melbourne allowed a patron to gamble for 34 hours straight before the VIP took a break, it was told earlier this week.

It was also revealed that staff are currently encouraging gamblers to take a break only after 12 hours of continuous play.

And while no ATMs are allowed on the gaming floor, Crown Melbourne customers can withdraw up to $200 in cash with every drink purchase at the bar.

The Victorian investigation continues on Monday.

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