Monday, November 2, 2009

Crown casino reduces blackjack payout for $5 to $10 on its public gaming floor

SMALL punters are being treated like mugs by Crown casino, gaming experts say.

Crown has reduced the blackjack payout on $5 to $10 tables on the public gaming floor. But the payout odds remain the same in the high-roller rooms.

Experts say the move will pour millions of dollars a year into the casino's coffers at the expense of battling punters.

"If you're not a professional gambler you might as well hand in your wallet at the reception desk when you arrive," said Ron Parsons, owner of the CasinoBusters.com teaching school.

As of last week, gamblers hitting "blackjack" - an Ace with a 10-point card - are paid the odds of 6-5 instead of the traditional 3-2 (6-4).

The rule change means a punter who hits blackjack with a $100 bet wins another $120 instead of the usual $150.

Last year, Crown almost doubled its chances of winning on the roulette wheels by adding an extra house number.

Mr Parsons said along with the recent introduction of automatic shuffle machines, winning on blackjack at Crown was now almost impossible.

Another rule imposed at Crown requires blackjack dealers to "hit" on "soft 17", meaning the house gets a final chance to win instead of paying out players holding cards valued at 18-21.

"None of these measures apply in the VIP high-roller rooms because they would never get away with it," Mr Parsons said.

"The Asian high-rollers would head home in their droves. Its all designed to rip off the inexperienced player."

But Crown spokesman Gary ONeill said the latest rule change had been approved by the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation.

"They have given approval for the game to proceed and the odds are clearly displayed on the tables," Mr O'Neill said.

Crown is also set to cash in on a controversial deal with the Brumby Government that will see it handed an extra 150 blackjack, roulette and baccarat tables.

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