Cops Discouraged from Patrolling Crown Casino Floors

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A man died after being pinned down by Crown security staff, and investigations revealed police are discouraged from patrolling the casino floor.

In July 2011, a 40-year-old man who was a customer at the Melbourne casino was brought to the ground and restrained by bouncers. Four days later, Anthony Dunning died at the hospital, gambling news reported.

Worrying details about the casino’s security system came to light during the investigation and hearings at the Victorian Coroners Court. According to detective Sergeant Paul Rowe, who investigated the incident, uniformed police were often discouraged from patrolling the casino.

“I think there’s an understanding that police don’t go onto the gaming floor unless they’re requested to attend,” Rowe told the inquest.

An incident that could have been avoided

On the day of the incident, a woman who visited the casino called for help, but quickly hung up fearing that security staff saw her. Police then phoned the casino only to be told they were not needed.

“If police were called then potentially the incident may not have occurred,” Rowe believes.

William Dunning, the victim’s father, said: “It seems that Crown is an island in the sea of Melbourne in which no one is allowed to enter unless Crown permits it.”

Two members of the casino staff, Matthew Scott Lawson and Cameron Paul Sanderson, were initially charged with manslaughter. In October 2012, they were acquitted. Benjamin Michael Vigo, the third bouncer, was found not guilty of assault, but the inquest continues.

Crown is the largest casino operator licensed under Australian gambling laws, and one of the industry’s biggest names.

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