Packer’s London casino accused of racist culture
James Packer's London casino has been accused of tolerating racism, with claims that high rolling punters demanded only "white" dealers and that black staff were called "dirty, dirty girls."
A London employment tribunal claim had alleged that Crown Resorts Aspinalls casino in Mayfair did not stamp out racism among its players.
Black dealers were called "n*****s", while some punters asked for a "lighter dealer", referring to the colour of staff members' skin.
The claims were detailed in documents from Semhar Tesfagiorgis, 40, a dealer at the exclusive venue that was once a haunt of Lord Lucan, a famous British gambler who mysteriously disappeared in 1974.
It was understood the mother of two, who is black and from Eritrea, made her complaint public after the Black Lives Matter campaign that spread around the world following the death of George Floyd in the United States.
News Corp Australia has seen a copy of Ms Tesfagiorgis' claim, which details the allegedly poor behaviour at the high roller casino.
The dealer has worked at Aspinalls for 13 years, and is still employed although she was off on sick leave before the casino was shut down because of COVID-19.
She claimed she witnessed "a patron requiring a 'lighter dealer' and being accommodated in such requests by the pit boss."
The staff member was also called a "stupid black girl" and was asked to "spin blackie."
Another patron in 2009 allegedly said about another black staff member: "That f*****g n****r, f*****g dirty girl - you better get that n****r out of here otherwise I am never coming back to this casino."
Some of the claims were also seen in video footage of incidents collected by the casino as part of its regular monitoring of the tables.
Ms Tesfagiorgis also claimed punters referred to black people as "gorillas" and said to one female dealer that "this is Mayfair, not Brixton."
Black coloured chips were referred to as "n****r chips," the claim alleged.
She argued that the casino did not kick out the gamblers for their behaviour and would agree to move black dealers away from tables if there was a complaint.
Ms Tesfagiorgis also claimed that the casino did not allow her to take some time off at weekends so she was able to look after her children, while a white male staff member's roster requests were accommodated.
It is not the first time Crown Resorts has been forced to defend claims of racism.
Last year Australian basketball superstar Ben Simmons suggested he was racially profiled by bouncers at the gambling room entrance to Melbourne's Crown Casino.
The casino denied the allegations.
Shazia Khan, an employment lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who was working on the current London case, said the claims were "truly shocking" and there was no room for them in a "civilised society."
"Her experiences at work have directly impacted on her health and wellbeing," she said.
"My client is determined that lessons are learnt from her experience so that others in the industry and wider do not have to suffer in the same way."
Mr Packer bought Aspinalls in 2011, bringing it under the Crown Resorts banner, which also includes its casinos in Perth, Melbourne and the Sydney casino at Barangaroo, which had been due to open in December 2020.
Crown Aspinalls did not return calls, but it was understood that it could not comment on the matter.
Originally published as Packer's London casino accused of racist culture