The Crown Casino in Melbourne is the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere and is the envy of many of its northern competitors. In addition to over 220,000 sq. ft. of gaming area, 1604 guest rooms accommodate regular celebrity guests such as Nicole Kidman, Katy Perry, and Tiger Woods.
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.
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 four hotels, Crown Towers, Crown Promenade, and Crown Metropol, with a fourth hotel approved for construction which is expected to commence in 2018.
The casino is accessible by tram routes 12, 58, 96, 109 which all pass near Southern Cross railway station and the Melbourne City Centre.
Crown Casino opened in 1994 at the World Trade Centre on the north bank of the Yarra River. This location was a temporary, and training, setup while construction of the proper complex occurred. The Casino complex opened in its proper planned location at Southbank in 1997. Actress Rachel Griffiths infamously ran through the casino topless on its opening night. 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. Crown Casino has a licence for 540 table games (100 poker tables) and 2,500 poker machines.
Amongst other games, Crown provides the six main casino games of blackjack, craps, pai gow, poker, baccarat and roulette 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.
All lower denomination blackjack tables only offer a proprietary variant of the game called BlackJack Plus, which has been described as "the worst game of blackjack in Australia". This variation enormously increases the house advantage from around 0.5% in the higher denomination tables, to around 5%, making its odds comparable to double-zero roulette.
As well as three card poker on the main gaming floor, Crown has also offers varieties of poker including Texas hold 'em. The Crown Poker Room encompasses a large separate space in the Crown basement.
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 Casino has 3,500 poker machines 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.
The regulator overseeing the casino's activities, and to whom grievances can be addressed, is the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR). The VCGR regularly monitors the casino's operations to ensure Crown conforms to Victorian gambling laws. Crown has been repeatedly charged and fined for minor breaches of the Casino Control Act 1991. The commission has an office located on site which is staffed around the clock.