Crown-Owned London Casino Aspinalls Allowed Racial Abuse

Crown London Aspinalls staands accused of allowing its staff to be racially and sexually harrassed.

The royal commission is dragging Crown Resorts‘ name through the mud. There is not a day that goes by that new scandal surfaces, or so it seems. It is not only in Australia where Crown’s name is tarnished; its London-based Aspinalls is receiving negative press in the United Kingdom.

Crown-owned Aspinalls is due to give evidence at the London Central employment tribunal this week. It finds itself in the dock because a former Aspinalls employee is in the process of suing the high-end casino.

Semhar Tesfagiorgis is suing Crown London Aspinalls for race and sex discrimination. Tesfagiorgis claims there was a hostile and demeaning environment when she worked there from 2007 to 2020.

Aspinalls employed Tesfagiorgis as an inspector/dealer from 2007 to 2020. She claims some millionaire members regularly used racial slurs when talking to her and her black colleagues. These slurs included many words with negative meaning.

Tesfagiorgis and her fellow black colleague complained to the casino’s management team, but all they did was bow to the patrons’ pressure not to have black dealers at their tables instead of barring them from the property.

Racially Abused Former Aspinalls Dealer Gives Evidence

The racially abused dealer gave evidence to a tribunal on July 15.

“Each time I have encountered racism and sexism or witnessed a colleague being racially harassed or been told about a colleague’s experience, I have done my best to report this to the respondents in the hope they would address the matter and send a clear message that it does not tolerate any form of discrimination.

“Instead, my experience has continuously been one of gaslighting and excuses made on behalf of the patrons in an attempt to dumb down their offensive and unlawful conduct.”

Tesfagiorgis told the inquiry the first incident happened on only her second day working for Aspinalls. A wealthy patron called her and a fellow employee the N-word. Her colleague confronted the man, but the casino management removed her and Tesfagiorgis from the gaming floor.

The same patron used racists language against the same women two years later. The casino swapped them for a white male dealer.

It was not only the patrons who discriminated against Tesfagiorgis, according to her evidence. She claims she requested to swap shifts due to a child care issue. Management refused her request; however, management granted a white male dealer a similar request.

Aspinalls denies it acts discriminately in any way, shape or form. Its management remembers the 2007 and 2009 incidents, however. It claims the patron was spoken to in 2007 before being banned in 2009.

About The High-End London Casino

Crown London Aspinalls was known as The White Elephant in the 1960s and was a popular dining destination for London’s elite. Actor and agent Leslie Linder owned the property before selling it to John Aspinall in the 1990s.

Aspinall, a controversial businessman and zoo owner, converted the property into a lavish private gambling club. The white elephant statue remains outside the main doors as a doff of the cap to The White Elephant.

The venue’s interior is akin to a luxurious mansion and is frequented by some extremely wealthy gamblers. The casino has 16 gaming tables and offers roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and three-card poker.

Crown Resorts acquired Aspinalls Club in 2011 for a price of £36 million, $55 million at the time. The deal was a 50:50 joint venture with the Aspinall family. A similar 50:50 deal was struck with the group’s Aspers brand for its casinos in Newcastle, Northampton, and Swansea.

Aspinalls generated $75.6 million in revenue for Crown in 2018, but this fell to $56.3 million in 2019. Revenue dropped again in 2020 to $42.7 million due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.