Electronic gaming machines taken offline in weeks leading up to Blackstone takeover of Crown Resorts

Electronic gaming machines taken offline in weeks leading up to Blackstone takeover of Crown Resorts

A large number of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) were taken offline at Perth’s casino in the weeks leading up to Blackstone’s takeover of the disgraced Crown Resorts empire on Friday, gamblers have reported.

One gambler said he was not given an answer when he asked staff why the machines, which number in the hundreds, could not be played in recent weeks.

The offline machines — including the All Aboard, Bull Rush and Go West games — displayed an official sign stating “This machine is unavailable for play”.

The machines were based in different sections of the casino, including the high-roller Pearl Room.

But the gambler said that when he went to the casino on Friday – the day the US equity giant got the keys to Crown’s casinos in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney – the machines were online once again and being played.

EGMs are the biggest source of gaming revenue for the Perth casino, bringing in more than $306 million last financial year.

‘Potential technical issue’ being investigated

A Crown Resorts spokeswoman confirmed the gaming machines had been removed, saying a “potential technical issue” had to be investigated.

But she said the machines had been cleared by their manufacturer, as well as by accredited testing facilities, and would be returned to service after consultation with the regulator.

Gaming machines inside Crown Perth's Pearl Room, with gaming tables and casino staff in the background.
It’s understood machines were also unavailable in the Pearl Room for high-roller gamblers.(Supplied: Crown Perth)

EGMs are tested and certified by accredited facilities to see if they meet all kinds of requirements, including regulatory rules set by state casino watches like the speed of play and returns to the player.

For example, in the rules outlined in the WA appendix to the national standards, a minimum average of 90 per cent must be returned to players.

A Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries spokeswoman said the WA casino regulator, the Gaming and Wagering Commission, would inspect the machines and the report from the testing facilities before the machines could go online again.

She said Crown had advised them that the EGMs were taken offline “due to a suspected issue relating to that particular model of machine”.

“The GWC always applies an enforcement lens to these sorts of notifications, making sure there is integrity in relation to EGMs in that they comply with the relevant national standards and WA’s appendix to the national standards,” she said.

However, she said the issue did not relate to the rate of returns to players.

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