Crown Perth culture review raises numerous concerns

By William Brown Updated
Crown Perth suitability report due soon

Crown Resorts’ Perth casino has undergone a culture review that has discovered a large number of staff feel they could be penalised for raising concerns to management.

The Herald Sun reports that the review has underpinned some of the ongoing cultural issues plaguing the under fire casino operator.

The review will likely raise the concern of Crown’s board and new chief executive officer Steve McCann, who are attempting to spearhead a cultural overhaul of the group.

A major of surveyed Perth employees said they believed Crown’s directors do not “consistently behave in accordance with Crown’s values.”

The observations come in an expert report on a recent cultural review of Crown undertaken by Deloitte that was prepared for the Perth casino royal commission.

The commission is examining whether Crown is suitable to operate its casino in Perth.

Crown’s “profits-first” mentality 

It comes after an inquiry temporarily revoked Crown’s New South Wales casino licence in February, while a separate Victorian royal commission placed the group’s Melbourne casino licence on a two year probationary period under the watch of a state-appointed “special manager.”

Both probes slammed Crown’s “profits-first” culture that led to it dealing with cashed up VIP gamblers who had potential links to organised crime.

Report author and Kiel Advisory Group managing director Elizabeth Arzadon said the Deloitte review revealed that “serious leadership weaknesses exist not only at the top of the organisation, but als at middle management and supervisor levels.”

“Until leaders at all levels demonstrate the skill and will to inspire, support and role model new behaviours, Crown’s cultural transformation will encounter serious barriers,” she said.

The report said that only “42 per cent of Perth staff responded positively to the survey item ‘Board members at Crown consistently behave in accordance with Crown’s values.”

On the middle management and supervisor level, only 41 per cent of Crown Perth staff believed that their direct supervisors put their own self-interest ahead of the company.

Psychological safety lacking for staff

Ms Arzadon said there “is a lack of psychological safety between staff and management, undermining the likelihood of issues being identified,” with only 55 per cent of Crown Perth staff responding positively to the survey item, “I am confident that I will not be penalised for raising concerns.”

The review contained alarming anonymous comments from Crown employees that highlighted the extent to which rule bending was encouraged to maximise gaming revenue.

“In VIP, we are sometimes told to do things ot keep certain patrons happy even though I know it goes against compliance,” one employee said.

Overall, only 38 per cent of staff agreed that their co-workers were penalised for taking risks, even if their actions generated “positive results”.

Ms Arzadon said certain departments at the casino preesnted a higher risk to the group, with just 19 per cent of surveillance staff at Crown Perth believing they won’t be penalised for raising concerns.

“Overall, the surveillance team displays a range of characteristics that suggest team dynamics that could be described as ‘toxic’, including a deep resentment towards management, a known predictor of maladaptive behaviour,” she said.

“It would require far more evidence of change at multiple levels to conclude any material progress has been made on the issue of psychological safety in Perth.”

The WA Commission will soon sit for the last time until January, when oral closing arguments will be heard.

It will report to the state government on March 4.

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