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New Deakin University Research on Crown Casino

Tue, 30 Nov 2010 09:20:00 +1100

Deakin University's Associate Professor Linda Hancock has released findings from a new study of Crown Casino, Melbourne’s Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct – as part of a broader study of staff across the industry.

 “Casinos are corporate large-scale, licensed premises, operating under largely industry self-regulated Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct," she says.

"This research asks how well how Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct are implemented and regulated.

“Crown Casino. Crown has been chosen strategically for its claims to international best practice in responsible gambling and formal regulatory requirements that it operate to world class standards – including responsible gambling and responsible serving of alcohol."

The research reports on interviews with 225 Crown Casino workers, conducted privately in their own time, including gaming, bar, food and beverage and security staff as well as  focus groups.

Key findings include:

  • a lack of staff awareness of even the limited number of ‘signs’ of problem gambling included in the Crown Code of Conduct that are meant to trigger staff reporting of problem gambling
  • interpretation of signs like ‘gambling for long periods of time’ to mean 24 hours or more
  • ambiguity in the ‘upward report-to-supervisor’ process resulting in low rates of floor staff interventions in problem gambling – because they are told not to intervene
  • 65.3% of casino employee interviewees say they do not advise customers to take regular breaks in play
  • 55.3% say they would not intervene when customers are in a distressed state while they are playing
  • 81.2% say they do not approach people whom they think are having problems with their gambling.

“While Crown has only nine signs of problem gambling, they use 29 across the Netherlands casinos, 20 in Switzerland and 32 in New Zealand Sky City Auckland Problem Gambler Identification Policy,"Associate Professor Hancock said.

A breakdown in implementation of responsible service of  alcohol revealed:

  • about half (47.8% of staff) say they DO NOT approach people to stop gambling when they appear intoxicated.
  • Some don’t see the point of telling supervisors because of the lack of effective response and refer to managers turning a ‘blind eye’ to intoxication.
  • A number questioned the worth of informing supervisors – when little eventuated as a result.

Other findings include:

  • 20.9% do not ‘always feel safe at work’
  • Staff are concerned about the impact of intoxicated aggressive patrons on the surrounding community when, for example, patrons are ‘cut off’ from alcohol (ie denied sale of alcohol) and are exited from the casino premises
  • 74.5% agreed: ‘Customers who have been evicted from the venue could be a hazard to people outside the venue’
  • 66.2% agreed: ‘I sometimes worry intoxicated patrons evicted from my venue may be a danger to people outside the venue’.

“The policy shift in gambling legislation from promotion of tourism, employment and economic development under the Kennett Government, to responsible gambling since 2000 is more in rhetoric than action," Associate Professor Hancock said.

"What we see is a fractured ineffective system of regulatory enforcement of responsible gambling.

"As a potentially dangerous consumption in an intensive player environment, casinos need tougher codes for the identification of problem gamblers and effective interventions that are monitored and reported upon by the Regulator."

Download the report

This Working Paper is the precursor to a book: "Regulatory Failure? The case of Crown Casino" to be published by Australian Scholarly Publishing:



Associate Professor Linda Hancock addressing the 2009 'It's Not My Fault' on the ethics of gambling
Associate Professor Linda Hancock addresses the 2009 Deakin Research 'It's Not My Fault' forum on the ethics of gambling

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27th February 2015