More than 20 years after opening in Melbourne, Crown Casino will start analysing the gambling behaviour of individuals, including gambling intensity, duration and frequency of gambling, as a tool to identify potential problem gamblers.
The move comes as pressure mounts on the casino operator to better identify those gambling with criminally acquired money.
The casino already monitors the spending patterns of gamblers to encourage spending.
The casino’s loyalty program offers rewards that escalate the more visitors to the casino spend. These “privileges” can include hotel stays and tickets to major sporting events.
Victoria’s gambling regulator has now asked for the gambling patterns to be recorded as a tool to help prevent problem gambling.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation has requested “Crown Melbourne Limited trial for a reasonable period the use of player data analysis as an initial indicator to identify players who may be having problems with their gambling”.
It also requested Crown provide a copy of the report on the outcome of the trial to the commission within three months of the report being considered by Crown’s Responsible Gaming Committee.
The gambling regulator told The Age: “Crown has advised the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation that it will commence a trial in January 2015”.
The move comes as Crown prepares to do battle in court next year with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
The bank is claiming $1.5 million from Crown the bank says a former employee stole and gambled away at the casino.
A 2008 review of the casino operator said Crown had to lift its performance in detecting gamblers who were using other people’s money.
The Sunday Age recently reported a court case of a man who fleeced a vulnerable Black Saturday bushfire survivor and her four children of almost $400,000 and then lost most of it gambling at Crown Casino, including $284,000 punted in two weeks.
Judge Michael Bourke said the victim had been left humiliated and bereft and that most of her money was “lost and now belongs to the proprietors of Crown casino”.
He questioned, without criticism or direct knowledge, what processes existed to prevent criminally acquired money being gambled and lost at the casino, but reflected how “quickly and apparently easily it can be done”.
Crown declined to say what action it had taken to better detect gamblers using other people’s money.
With Stephen Butcher