Crown Melbourne

Summary

Crown Melbourne (also referred to as Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex) is a casino and resort located on the south bank of the Yarra River, in Melbourne, Australia. Crown Casino is a unit of Crown Limited, and the first casino of the now-international Crown brand.

Crown Melbourne
Crown Melbourne (casino and resort) logo.svg
Melbourne Yarra River of City South & North Bank.jpg
Crown Casino in 2007, along the Yarra River in Melbourne
Location Southbank, Victoria, Australia
Address Yarra Promenade
Opening date30 June 1994; 28 years ago (1994-06-30) (temporary location)
8 May 1997; 25 years ago (1997-05-08) (permanent location)
No. of rooms1,604
Signature attractionsThe Palladium
Seasons of Fortune, Southern Porte Cochere, Revelry, Brigades and Celebration
Casino typeLand
Owner Crown Resorts Limited
Websitecrownmelbourne.com.au
Aerial view of the complex from the north
The Atrium at Crown

Initially having opened in 1994 on the north bank of the Yarra, Crown Melbourne relocated and re–opened on the south bank of the Yarra, in 1997. It remains one of the central features of the Southbank precinct of the Melbourne central business district. The entire complex has a space of 510,000 m2—the equivalent to two city blocks—making it the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. The complex also hosts three hotels, Crown Towers, Crown Promenade, and Crown Metropol.

It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week except on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day when it is closed from 4 a.m. to midday. It was founded, owned and run by Lloyd Williams until the Packer takeover by PBL in 1999.

The casino is accessible by tram routes 12, 58, 96, 109 which all pass near Southern Cross railway station and the Melbourne City Centre.

Opening and statisticsEdit

Temporary locationEdit

Crown Casino opened on 30 June 1994 at the World Trade Centre on the northern bank of the Yarra River.[1] This location was a temporary, and training, setup while construction of the proper complex occurred.

Permanent locationEdit

Crown's permanent location opened on 8 May 1997 of the southern bank of the Yarra River.[2] It was designed by a team of architects and interior designers working in collaboration, including : Bates Smart, Perrott Lyon Mathieson and Daryl Jackson (in association). Principal practitioners included architects Lyndon Hayward, Bob Sinclair, Peter Dredge, and Hamish Lyon, and interior designers Jeff Copolov, Paul Hecker, Jackie Johnston, Kathy Hall, Fiona Ennis, Jan Eastwood, and Kerry Phelan.[3]

On opening night, Actress Rachel Griffiths infamously ran through the casino topless on its opening night to protest the project.[4]

It is one of the central features of the Southbank area in the central business district and the Crown Towers fronts onto the waterfront as part of Southbank Promenade. Children under the age of 18 are permitted into the entertainment and shopping section of complex, but not into the gaming area or areas serving alcohol. The entire complex has a space of 510,000 m2, making it the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere[5] and one of the largest in the world.[6][7]

Crown Casino has a licence for 540 table games (100 poker tables) and 2,500 poker machines.[8]

Casino gamesEdit

BaccaratEdit

Baccarat is the most popular game at Crown and a large portion of Crown's revenue comes from Baccarat. The different variations of Baccarat that Crown offers include:

  • Traditional Baccarat - in this variation, any banker win pays out 95%. This version is only available in the Mahogany Room and in other exclusive salons and lounges with a minimum bet of $100.[9]
  • Crown Baccarat - this variation is more commonly known as 'no-commission Baccarat' where the house payout is 50% when the banker wins with a point total '6'. The minimum bet is typically $100, however there are a few tables in the Tia To area with a $50 minimum bet.[9]
  • 2 to 1 Baccarat - this variation is a lower limit version of Baccarat and usually has a minimum bet of $25. The rules feature no commission on bets and 2 to 1 payouts when the banker wins with 3 cards on 8 or 9, however, ties lose.[9][10]

BlackjackEdit

Blackjack is a game found throughout Crown Casino and in many casinos around the globe. There are more than 10 different variations of Blackjack at crown and the availability of different versions are on constant rotation. The most common variations include:

  • Traditional Blackjack - this variation is only found in the Mahogany Room and in other exclusive salons and lounges. The key feature of Traditional Blackjack is that the dealer stands on a 'soft 17'.[11]
  • Crown Blackjack - this variation of blackjack is the same as Tradition Blackjack with the only difference being that the dealer hits on a 'soft 17'. Crown Blackjack can be found in any area outside the Mahogany Room and usually has a minimum bet of $25–100.[11]
  • Blackjack Plus - this variation of blackjack has a much higher house edge than Crown Blackjack and as a result, the typical minimum bet is $10–20. The rules feature a stand-off when the dealer achieves a total '22' and in return players are able to double down with three cards in their hand, get an instant payout on 21, 'five-and-under' wins, and the other rules.[11] Blackjack Plus has been described as "the worst game of blackjack in Australia" due to the house advantage of around 5%.[12]

Poker machinesEdit

Crown Casino has 2,500 poker machines.[8] on the casino floor, with values ranging from one cent to one dollar, as well as a few two and five-dollar machines in the VIP areas. Slot machines at Crown are made by Aristocrat, Ainsworth Gaming Technology (AGT), IGT, Konami and SHFL entertainment/Shuffle Master and WMS Gaming, the latter using Shuffle Master machines.

Crown pokerEdit

The Crown Poker Room encompasses a large separate space in the Crown basement underneath the food court. The games on offer include No Limit Hold 'em, PLO, as well as variations such as Three Card Poker and Mississippi Stud.[13]
Crown also host a number poker tournaments including the Aussie Millions which is the largest poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere.[14]

Other gamesEdit

Crown provides the six other games, Craps, Pai gow, Poker, and Roulette, among others and it was also the first to introduce an electronic version of roulette known as Rapid Roulette. There is also Bigwheel, the electronic Vegas Star Roulette and Rapid Baccarat.

The Crown is also one of the major centres for competitive poker in the Asia-Pacific region. It annually hosts the Aussie Millions, currently the Southern Hemisphere's richest poker event. Starting in 2013, it became home to the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific, the latest expansion of the World Series of Poker.

Crown rewards programEdit

The crown rewards cards features five different tiers (member, silver, gold, platinum, and black). Everyone starts at the member tier and can upgrade their card when they attain a certain amount of status credits. Membership status is reviewed every six months and cards can be downgraded due to inactivity.[15]

Status credits can be earned by accumulating points. Either 500 casino points or 1,500 lifestyle points form one status credit.[15]

Casino points are earned when a player inserts their reward card into a poker machine or when they hand their Crown Reward Card to the croupier. Typically, on a table with a $50 minimum bet, a player earns 500 casino points per hour. When earning lifestyle points, every dollar spent on hotels, restaurants, bars, retail, or events earns 5 points.[15]

Points can also be redeemed without effecting the users ability to earn status credits with 100 points usually equaling a $1 reward.[15]

Member tierEdit

The member tier is the base level, offers very basic rewards and is automatically given to any patron who is eligible to gamble at the casino. The rewards include free multi-level parking when $50 is spent and free internet on the casino floor.[16]

Silver tierEdit

The silver tier is earned when a person attains five status credits with rewards including free multi-level parking when $1 is spent, 10% off the spa and hotels, a welcome gift at hotels, and access to the Riverside Room.[16]

The Riverside Room is exclusive to guests with a silver card or higher and is located near the food court entrance of the casino at the west end of the complex. The room has many poker machines and two TAB machines with many TVs with horse racing and sports playing. Access to the room also grants free non-alcoholic drinks which include a variety of soft drinks, coffee and lemon, lime and bitters at the bar.

Gold tierEdit

The gold tier is obtained when a card holder reaches 25 status credits with the rewards including free basement parking, discounted valet parking during off-peak times, 15% off the spa and hotels, and access to the Teak Room.[16]

The Teak Room is an exclusive room for guests with a gold card or higher and is located in front of the casino's atrium entrance. The Teak Room has poker machines, many baccarat tables, and a handful of roulette and blackjack tables as well as electronic games. Access to the Teak Room also grants guests free non-alcoholic drinks and a free selected range of alcoholic drinks including beer, wine, and spirits.

Platinum TierEdit

The platinum tier is earned when a person reached 100 status credits with a variety of rewards being on offer including free nights in a hotel rooms, 20% off the spa and hotels, invitations to special events such as AFL games and the tennis, a dedicated VIP host, and most importantly, access to the Mahogany Room.[16]

The Mahogany Room, named after Kerry Packer and Lloyd Williams' horse (Mahogany), is an ultra exclusive room frequented by businessmen and women, drug lords, criminals, wealthy individuals, and celebrities. The Mahogany room is located on level 1 of Crown Towers and has a number of perks attached.[17]

Black tierEdit

The black tier is the most exclusive tier available and it given to usually given to the 'top 200' domestic gamblers. There are an extraordinary amount of benefits available to black card holders including access to private gambling salons at the top floors of Crown Towers, access to a New Year's Eve event at the Palladium Ballroom where Mariah Carey once performed,[18] and tickets to major events.[19]

Restaurants, bars, & retailEdit

The Crown Entertainment Complex has a rewards program where members earn points on every dollar spent at most outlets within the Crown complex. There are several nightclubs and restaurants as well as "Kingpin" (formerly Galactic Circus), an electronic games arcade, laser tag game, bowling alley, and many luxury brands.[20]

RestaurantsEdit

  • Conservatory
  • Koko
  • Rockpool Bar and Grill
  • Nobu Melbourne
  • The Atlantic
  • Silks

Luxury brandsEdit

HotelsEdit

Crown has three hotel towers, and a fourth which has received planning approval:

  • Crown Towers: a skyscraper comprising a five-star luxury hotel located within the Crown Entertainment Complex. It houses 481 rooms and villas over 38 floors.[21] Located on the banks of the Yarra River it overlooks the city centre, Kings Domain, Port Phillip and Docklands.
  • Crown Metropol: reputedly Australia's largest hotel by number of rooms. This five-star hotel houses 658 rooms across 28 floors.
  • Crown Promenade: a 465-room, 4.5-star hotel on 23 floors.[22] It is located on the block behind Crown Towers and is connected to the main complex by a pedestrian overpass. It also houses Australia's only purpose built hotel conference facility the 'Crown Conference Centre'.
  • A fourth hotel, One Queensbridge, had plans for its construction approved, however, plans unfortunately fell through due to a failure to acquire financing.[23]

Notable guests at Crown's hotelsEdit

Notable guests at the Crown Towers, Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade Hotels have included Celine Dion, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Nicole Kidman, Rachel Griffiths, One Direction, Keanu Reeves, Kerry Packer,[24] Tiger Woods[25] and Neil Murray and many other high-profile celebrities and politicians. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and several other tennis players often stay at the Casino during the Australian Open.

AttractionsEdit

The Palladium BallroomEdit

 
The ornate modern ceiling of the Crown Palladium room

The Palladium at Crown is a ballroom with a seating capacity of 1500. It has played host to some of Australia's premier functions, including the annual TV Week Logie Awards, Brownlow Medal, Melbourne Victory Player of the Year Medal, Allan Border Medal, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix ball and the Melbourne Press Club Quill award for excellence in journalism.

Water featuresEdit

Water features appear both inside and outside the Crown Casino complex. They include the Seasons of Fortune, Southern Porte Cochere, Revelry, and Celebration.

Gas brigades fire showEdit

Along the Yarra River, outside crown, there are eight towers, at night these towers shoot spheres of fire, almost 3 meters in diameter, in the air at choreographed intervals. The show occurs every hour with times of operating depending on the season of the year and do not operate in strong winds or when a total fire ban is declared.[26]

The Gas Brigades are an iconic part of Melbourne and is commonly sought by visiting tourists.[27]

While these brigades use a considerable amount of gas to operate, Crown offset the energy emissions created.[28]

ControversiesEdit

TheftEdit

  • In 2002, Thomas Mangos, a 39-year-old man from Bundoora, stole $136,000 from crown casino's Mahogany Room using a fake gun. Mangos' armed robbery occurred after he was "seduced" by the casino and lost $1 million gambling. He later turned himself into police, was charged, pleaded guilty, and was subsequently sentenced to a 5 years term of imprisonment with a 3-year non-parole period.[29]
  • In 2013, a man with access to the video feeds from Crown's security cameras via an accomplice cheated the casino out of $33 million.[30]

Criminal activitiesEdit

  • In 2016, eighteen employees of Crown Casino were detained by Chinese police after having been accused of resorting to gambling crimes.[31]

The Finkelstein Royal CommissionEdit

  • The Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence heavily criticised crown for a variety of illegal and unethical activities. The commission's findings of Crown include money laundering, strong ties to organised criminal networks, and found other serious problems with Crown's corporate governance among other things. Essentially, the Royal Commission made the recommendation that Crown be put under a two-year review period where they are able to keep their license to operate, but have to make major changes in order to facilitate a legal casino operation and responsible gambling. This includes the appointment of an inspector to monitor and ascertain whether money laundering, loan sharking, or illicit drug sales were taking place and exclude people when necessary.[32]
  • The Victorian State Government accepted the recommendations made by the commission and has introduced the CASINO AND GAMBLING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2021 which appoints a Special Manager to oversee all operations and decision making of Crown, establishes a new regulator known as the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission which has new powers and imposes more obligations on Crown, and bans Junket operations among other things.[33]

OtherEdit

  • In September 2015, Rochelle Nolan the fiancée and de facto wife of entertainer/comedian Russell Gilbert, took her own life after a battle with depression and was found deceased in one of the rooms of the hotel.[34]
  • In June 2022, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) stated Crown Melbourne aided in the processing of AU $164 million in transactions and earned AU $32 million in income from illicit payments. The illicit payments came from Chinese gamblers and the company aided in unlawfully transferring the money out of the country. Due to this the company had been fined AU $80 million.[35]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Gibson, Rachel (9 May 1997). "Come and see it: Premier - Casino Opening Night". The Age. Fairfax Media. p. 4.
  2. ^ Porter, David (30 June 1994). "Simply the best for a glittering Crown". The Age. p. 6.
  3. ^ "Melbourne Casino". ArchitectureAU. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Crown protest led to naked ambition". amp.heraldsun.com.au. Herald Sun. 28 April 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Crown Casino Melbourne entertainment restaurant". Melbourne-hotels.redflag.info. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Crown Casino". Gambling Info. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Resources Project Database Crown Melbourne, Southbank". Schiavello. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2017
  8. ^ a b Ian Sutton. "New game revolutionises Roulette". Gamingfloor.com. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "Baccarat - Crown Melbourne". Archived from the original on 13 October 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  10. ^ Shackleford, Michael (21 July 2012). "2 to 1 Baccarat". Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  11. ^ a b c "Blackjack - Crown Melbourne". Archived from the original on 13 October 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Crown offers worst BJ game in Australia". Blackjack-masters.com. Archived from the original on 25 April 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Crown Poker". Crown Melbourne. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Aussie Millions Poker Championship". Crown Melbourne. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  15. ^ a b c d "Benefits of the Crown Rewards Program Tiers - Crown Melbourne". Crown Melbourne. Archived from the original on 30 January 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d "Crown Rewards Program Brochure". Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  17. ^ McCauley, Dana (25 October 2016). "What it's like in the high roller room". news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Heraldsun.com.au". Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  19. ^ Cohen, Muhammad. "Chinese Visitors Win Big For Australian Casinos". Forbes. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Shopping at Crown - Retail Outlets". Crown Melboiurne. Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Crown Towers Melbourne Accommodation: Exciting, Cosmopolitan, Holiday Destination | City Guides & Travel Tips". Guides.info2travel.com. 19 December 2010. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  22. ^ "Crown Promenade, Discount hotel reservations in Melbourne". OzTravel.com. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  23. ^ Toscano, Nick (3 March 2019). "Crown weighs 'next steps' as plans for Australia's tallest tower in doubt". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to be James Packer's guests at Crown Towers". Smh.com.au. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Tiger Woods joined by his mother Kutilda in Melbourne at Crown Towers". Herald Sun. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  26. ^ "Gas Brigades Fire Show - Crown Melbourne". Crown Melbourne. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  27. ^ "10 Fun Things to Do in Melbourne". oc energy. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  28. ^ "Corporate Social Responsibility - Crown Resorts Ltd" (PDF). 2017. p. 63. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  29. ^ "Casino bandit jailed for 5 years". The Age. 30 April 2003.
  30. ^ "Man steals $33 million from Australian casino in 'Ocean's Eleven'-esque heist". forums.themavesite.com/. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  31. ^ Day, Philip Wen, Business (31 October 2016). "Four Australians are now involved in the Crown Resorts arrests in China". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  32. ^ Finkelstein, The Hon. Ray. "Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence" (PDF). 1. Retrieved 8 November 2021. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  33. ^ Horne, Melissa (27 October 2021). "CASINO AND GAMBLING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2021 - Second reading". Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  34. ^ Sharp, Annette (23 September 2015). "Mystery of Russell's missing hours". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  35. ^ Clinton Jacob Machoka (26 June 2022). "Crown Melbourne Casino Fined AU$80 Million for Illicit Chinese Payments". highstakesdb.com. Retrieved 5 July 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit

  • Official website
  • CrownLimited.com

Coordinates: 37°49′20″S 144°57′36″E / 37.822324°S 144.960099°E / -37.822324; 144.960099