Australia: Crown will allow customers to ban themselves through new digital self-exclusion portal

Crown Resorts will soon enable online self-exclusion for people with gambling problems, allowing patrons to ban themselves via the Internet instead of having to do so in person. The measure will allow customers to block themselves from entering a Crown casino through a new digital self-exclusion portal, as part of a wider overhaul of the Australian giant’s approach to harm minimization.

The operator’s new safer gambling program also includes the establishment of a dedicated gambling policy team, reports Sydney Morning Herald. The new team will be required to monitor customer playing behavior and create interventions to better prevent gambling harm from occurring.

The company said it also wants to establish advisory panels to work with state regulators and community groups, in order to improve gambling harm education and share its research.

Crown CEO Ciaran Carruthers, who was appointed last year following an overhaul of the company’s management amid a series of damning inquiries into the business, said that the operator will prioritize player safety, even if it generates less turnover

“I have been in this business for 34 years and I can tell you – no one does this,” Carruthers told the publication. “It is critically important to me that when I look at the long-term viability of this business people see our resorts as entertainment to enjoy safely.”

Along with establishing its new self-exclusion program, the group has also moved to cashless gaming at Crown Melbourne and Crown Sydney as well as introducing AUD 10 maximum bet limits on poker machines at Crown Perth, as part of its efforts to minimize gambling harm and help retain its licenses after the inquiries.

The technological overhaul required to facilitate the changes has so far cost the business AUD 13 million ($8.6 million). Further changes to Crown’s operations also go “beyond government regulation,” noted Carruthers, such as encouraging customers to take breaks every three hours.

Carruthers said that some aspects of the new harm minimization policy, called Crown PlaySafe,  would not be welcomed by “heavy gamblers.” He, however, noted that the new changes would make the casinos more appealing to the general public. 

The company’s new program was unveiled just weeks after the Federal Court determined the casino operator will pay one of the biggest penalties in Australian corporate history to the financial crimes watchdog, due to past anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism failings in its Perth and Melbourne casinos.