Danny Lakasas details how he was blocked from investigating crime at Melbourne’s Crown Casino

·

In a Four Corners and ABC Investigations exclusive on Monday night, five casino inspectors spoke out about how they were blocked from investigating serious crime in Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

One of these inspectors was former Victoria Police officer, Danny Lakasas, who worked for the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) and was supposed to have oversight of the casino by keeping out criminal influence and infiltration.

But Lakasas, along with the four other inspectors who include Former VCGLR Senior Inspector Peter McCormick, told the program that over the years they lost access to parts of the casino, were shadowed by Crown staff in high-roller rooms, and felt their presence was unwelcome.

They also told Four Corners their roles at the casino were constantly undermined as the watchdog they worked for gave Crown what it wanted again and again.

In fact, Lakasas detailed how he once ran a 12-month operation to track the use of counterfeit notes at the casino — methodically tracking dates, times and gaming table numbers, as well as who the dealers and patrons were.

Former Victoria Police officer, Danny Lakasas. Photo: Four Corners.

He told the program that when he compiled what he’d found and passed it up the chain, nothing happened.

“Somebody from intel came down then, took all the information, said, ‘Thanks very much.’ That was the last I heard of it,” Lakasas said in the episode.

“You get disheartened after a while, and you start thinking, well, why am I busting my backside in doing all this work when it’s not going to go anywhere and nothing’s going to happen?”

The casino inspector went on to say that during a period of upheaval at the regulator, James Packer ramped up Crown’s aggressive expansion into the Chinese high-roller market. VIP gamblers were also brought into Melbourne by third party agents known as junket operators.

Danny Lakasas has spoken out about he was blocked from investigating crime at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. Photo: Four Corners.

To Lakasas, the casino suddenly became more vulnerable to organised crime.

“What changed then with the junkets coming in was the amount of Chinese people coming in, having their own rooms, and gambling basically millions of dollars,” Lakasas told Four Corners.

“What we saw was a lot of money change hands… I don’t know where this money came from, or how it was accounted for, or whether the state was receiving their cut of taxes at that time, because it was all mainly cash.”

Both Crown and the regulator declined to be interviewed by Four Corners. A VCGLR spokesperson said it would be inappropriate to comment while the royal commission into Crown Melbourne was underway.

But all five inspectors have risked speaking out so that they might see a regulator restored with sufficient power, expertise and independence.

“So many ex-inspectors speaking up just shows that they’re concerned and that the system’s broken, and hopefully our voices are taken on board and something’s done about it,” Lakasas says.

Source: ABC.

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

2035: The end of the Greek community of Australia as we know it (Part Two)

In our previous article we referred to the important year 2035, a milestone for the presence and evolution of Hellenism in Australia.

‘Poor Things’ costumes exhibition opens at Benaki Museum in Greece

Costumes from Giorgos Lanthimos' film "Poor Things" are featured in an exhibition inaugurated by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Meet Joanna Kalafatis: New Greek star of hit Netflix series ‘Maestro in Blue’

Joanna Kalafatis is a beautiful Greek woman with voluminous hair. However, as the saying goes, there’s a lot more than meets the eye.

Archaeologists in Crete mystified by 4000-year-old discovery

A recently discovered 4,000-year-old stone building in Crete is puzzling archaeologists and potentially delaying an airport project.

Greece ranks third among Mediterranean cruise destinations

Data from the Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) show that Greek ports handled 7,003,150 passengers in 2023, up from 4,629,650 in 2022.

You May Also Like

OXI Day: Greeks across Australia celebrate with dancing and wreath laying ceremonies

OXI Day was commemorated over the weekend with a number of wreath laying ceremonies and marches by Greek communities across Australia.

Alleged Operation Ironside drug trafficker, Apostle Broikos, has valuables worth thousands seized

Luxury watches worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were found in the bedroom of Apostle Broikos, court documents allege.

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis out of US Open doubles

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis have been defeated by Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara in the US Open doubles third round.