Five casino inspectors have claimed they were blocked from investigating serious crime in Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
Speaking in a Four Corners and ABC Investigations program on Monday night, the five inspectors said they had lost access to parts of the casino over the years, were shadowed by Crown staff in high-roller rooms, and felt their presence at the venue was unwelcome. They added that their roles at the casino were constantly undermined.
One inspector was former Victoria Police officer Danny Lakasas, who worked for the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), with former VCGLR Senior Inspector Peter McCormick also involved.
Lakasas told the show that despite having the power to keep out criminal influence and infiltration at the casino, his efforts proved futile when a 12-month operation to track counterfeit notes was passed up the chain of command with no end result.
“Somebody from intel came down, took all the information, said, ‘Thanks very much.’ That was the last I heard of it,” said Lakasas.
“You get disheartened after a while, and you start thinking, well, why am I busting my backside in doing all this work when it’s not going to go anywhere and nothing’s going to happen?”
Four Corners said that both Crown and VCGLR declined to be interviewed, with the regulator saying it would be inappropriate to comment while the royal commission into Crown Melbourne was underway.
Lakasas added that the decision to speak out should hopefully create a change in regulation and indeed in Crown’s operations: “So many ex-inspectors speaking up just shows that they’re concerned and that the system’s broken, and hopefully our voices are taken on board and something’s done about it,” he said.