Victorian gambling Commission slammed for ‘skeleton staff’

Vic Commission lack of supervisionVictoria’s gaming watchdog is under fire for failing to adequately scrutinise Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

After the Auditor-General slammed the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation in February, the regulator is now in trouble for the low number of staff overseeing the casino.

Roster changes to the Commission have meant just 13 people, including junior staff, are running the casino’s operations, risking serious corruption.

The Commission has inspectors set up at the casino to deal with customer complaints and ensure underage, intoxicated, and banned patrons, along with self-excluded problem gamblers, cannot enter the casino.

The Age has reported the Commission is forcing some inspectors, including junior staff to work alone, which sources have said is not best practice and could lead to higher rate of incidents.

“It’s just dangerous, especially at night, to have staff approach people on their own,” one said.

“It also means that we aren’t keeping a proper check of the place.”

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Sources have suggested not back-filling when staff call in sick is the root of the problem.

“In the event that a staff member is unexpectedly absent, management conducts a risk assessment to determine whether that staff member is automatically replaced or if resources would be more effective to remain assigned to other, more high-risk areas,” a spokesperson for the Commission said.

In February the Victorian Auditor General’s Office released a report stating the alcohol and gaming regulator was too soft on the casino and failed to scrutinise money laundering by high rollers.

Auditor-General Andrew Greaves said inspectors were “not paying sufficient attention to key areas of risk in the casino’s operations.”

As a result, the Commission implemented changes including a dedicated team, instead of rotating shifts through the Australian casino. The CPSU – the inspectors’ union – has submitted a complaint with Worksafe over the new roster system.

According to the spokesman for the Commission, reforms had been in process long before the report was released to ensure inspectors focused on quality, not quantity. The new roster system will be reviewed over the next 12 months.

The Commission has had issues since the liquor and gaming regulators merged in 2012 and a spokesperson for Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Marlene Kairouz, has revealed the government is aware of the issues, “which are a legacy of the former Liberal government and their botched merger of the Victorian Commission of Gambling and Liquor Regulation”.

“A program of reform is already well underway, with a new team of dedicated inspectors at the Casino and other safety arrangements being implemented by the Commission.”

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