Crown Casino has been hit with a $300,000 fine for manipulating its poker machines

James Packer, Crown’s largest shareholder (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Crown Resorts Limited — the Casino company controlled by billionaire James Packer — has been fined $300,000 by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

The penalty was for failing to notify the Commission of a trial that Crown ran on some of its poker machines between March and April 2017.

The trial involved the use of “blanking buttons” which removes the number of options available to the user of the machine.

It was carried out on 17 out of a total of 2,628 poker machines at Crown’s Melbourne casino. A letter of censure was also issued to Crown Melbourne.

Today’s fine follows the announcement in early March that Crown was under investigation by the Commission for its poker machine trial.

Upon being notified it was under investigation, Crown lodged a submission arguing that it didn’t have to obtain approval before running the trial.

“The Commission accepted that the contravention was not deliberate and that the Gaming Machine Trial did not impact on the return to player ratio,” Crown said in the statement.

“While Crown Melbourne’s position throughout this process was that the Gaming Machine Trial did not require the prior approval of the Commission, Crown Melbourne respects the Commission’s decision, which brings this process to a close.”

Shares in Crown are little-changed in early trade, up 0.15% to $12.94.

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