Related Essays and Reports by Andrew W Scott
Crown Casino price gouges - again
May 4th 2007
Crown Casino has quietly changed their
rules of BlackJack for the worse, upping their advantage
against optimal (but non card-counting) play by 39%.
As far as I am aware there are no advertisements on
TV with actors' beaming smiles publicising this 39%
Imagine the price of some other commodity
suddenly going up 39%? Apparently "entertainment"
costs 39% more now than it did a month ago. Clown
(sorry, Crown) Casino have created this price increase
by introducing a new rule "dealer hits on soft 17",
a rule that has never existed in any one of Australia's
13 legal casinos. In typical Clown style, it appears
they introduced this rule completely unilaterally
and with no government or punter consultation whatsoever.
We now hear that the Victorian Commission
for Gambling Regulation is investigating whether Clown
had permission to change the rules and why it wasn't
displayed on their website, as is required by the
Casino Control Act. One very short odds bet is that
nothing will come of the VCGR's "probing investigation".
Every single time the VCGR (or its forerunner the
VCGA) has investigated Clown for its numerous rule
and procedure breaches over the last thirteen years,
the outcome has been a slap on the wrist at best,
and complete silence at worst. Did I hear someone
say "do not bite the hand that feeds you"?
This is not the first time Clown
has quietly slipped rule changes in. Some years back
they changed the rules to increase their BlackJack
advantage by 68%. So the game today costs the punter
234% of the price it did when the folks at Clown first
opened their doors on Black Thursday, 30 June 1994.
Who knows when the next rule change for the worse
will come? When they made the change years ago which
increased the price of BlackJack by 68%, their excuse
was "to come into line with the other Australian casinos".
Funny that, because when "coming into line" meant
a price increase, then "coming into line" was fine.
But now they have made a rule change which no other
casino in the country has, and as a by-product of
that change, well what-do-ya-know the price of play
goes up by 39%! Apparently "coming into line" is not
so necessary anymore…
Frown (sorry, Crown) will do almost
anything to increase their advantage over the sucker
gambler. Frown introduced "Pontoon" (let's call it
"BlackJack for Dummies"), a weird BlackJack variant
game some years ago. "BlackJack for Dummies" costs
approximately double the price of real BlackJack.
What fun! Oh, and of course don't forget that anyone
with enough brainpower to beat the game (such as yours
truly) is persona non grata in the casino, and not
allowed to play the game. Hence skilled players play
a never-ending cat-and-mouse game, disguising their
skill from the powers that be at Clown, often using
farcical methods that would be hilarious if there
wasn't so much money involved.
On the other hand, losers with no
knowledge on how to win are, naturally, most welcome
guests of Clown. If you are a really BIG loser, then
they will roll out the red carpet (luxury suites,
luxury food, luxury soirées and luxury ladies-of-the-night,
here we come). What we need in Australia is what they
have in the great casino locations of the world -
competition. Look at Las Vegas and Macau. Dozens of
major casinos compete side by side, and rule changes
- for the better - are common. Casinos place large
signs at their door advertising good rules. In all
my year's experience with Australia casinos, I have
never seen a casino make and advertise to the punting
masses a rule change for the better. Why? Because
the two nearest casinos in Australia are over 100km
apart, and they just happen to be owned by the same
company. The nearest casinos to Clown are in Launceston
Maybe there is a role for the ACCC
in this? It would be great to see a classy, boutique
style card room or casino open next door to Clown,
offering great games with wafer thin advantages, giving
real bang for the punter's buck. The current price
gouging of the less fortunate in our society has just
got to stop. Unfortunately with Clown's cosy exclusivity
deal in place with their business partner (and regulator),
The Victorian Government, any competition for Clown
remains a pipe dream. Clown Casino represents one
of the most cynical money grabs in Australian society.
They call it "A World of Entertainment", I call it
"A World of Negative Expectation". I would have thought
the Packer family already had enough money, without
gouging it from the masses. Apparently not.
2007 Andrew W Scott
©2000 to present.
OZmium Pty Ltd. All rights reserved