Monday, May 18, 2009

Melbourne´s Crown Casino Cheating Public and Luring High-Stakes Gambling Whales With Payoffs To Gamble At Its Casino!

Shame on this Aussie Casino! In a tale worthy of a motion picture, the Crown Casino has been exposed for literally bribing big-time gamblers to gamble on its blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat tables. If this isn't casino cheating, what is?

It all centers around a devious plan to lure a banned pathological gambler to Crown was so secret not even Kerry Packer could know about it, the Supreme Court heard.

Lawyers for Harry Kakavas claimed that he was told by casino chiefs that Mr Packer would "kill us'' if he found out about incentives being gifted to the multi-millionaire property tycoon. Allan Myers, QC, said that pilots on board Crown's VIP jet regularly presented Mr Kakavas with boxes containing up to $50,000 cash.

In a conversation in September 2005, Crown's then chief operating officer John Williams, the stepson of former casino owner Lloyd Williams, allegedly told Mr Kakavas that the cash payments were authorised by James Packer. "Kerry Packer is the biggest gambler in the world and he does not get cash given to him to play at a casino,'' Mr Williams is alleged to have told Mr Kakavas.

Mr Myers said Crown's chief jet pilot, John Torr, had admitted to Mr Kakavas that he had never before given cash to a travelling patron. Mr Kakavas, a confessed gambling addict, is suing Crown for the $20.5 million he says he lost during a 16-month baccarat binge, plus damages. He is also suing Mr Williams and Crown's global CEO Rowen Craigie, who he alleges devised a scheme to bring him back to Melbourne. He had previously signed a self-exclusion order, banning him from the casino for life.

Mr Myers said it was likely that Crown owed Victorian taxpayers more than $700 million for failing to enforce an interstate exclusion order placed on Mr Kakavas by the NSW Police Commissioner in September 2000.

Under national casino laws, all winnings generated by a gambler in breach of the ban are forfeited to the state. Mr Myers said that Crown had enforced 88 forfeitures between 2004 and 2007 totalling almost $170,000.

Crown was also accused of cheating taxpayers out of GST payments by falsely registering Mr Kakavas as an international gambler under the pseudonym "Harry Kay."

During a gambling spree that ran from June 2005 until August 2006, Mr Kakavas turned over more than $1.5 billion with bets of up to $300,000 a hand. "Crown knew that he was a compulsive, pathological gambler; they also knew that he was an interstate excluded person." But as one of the officers said, they "'didn't give a monkey's hoot,'" Mr Myers said.

He said Crown pursued Mr Kakavas after learning he was gambling heavily in Las Vegas, and had even flown to his Gold Coast home with a letter for him to sign, formally requesting that his ban be overturned. But Neil Young, QC, for Crown, told the court Mr Kakavas had repeatedly applied for the withdrawal of his casino exclusion order. "Mr Kakavas was banging on the door to be allowed entry to Crown,'' Mr Young said. He said Mr Kakavas had demonstrated "real control'' in 30 visits to Melbourne and was known to have been betting at other casinos in Australia and overseas.

The hearing, before Justice David Harper, continues on Tuesday.