Melbourne casino chip thief sentenced

Georgie Moore
A man will be sentenced for stealing $125,000 worth of chips from Melbourne's Crown Casino.

When the chips were down for Melbourne gambler Gunawan Akay, an opportunistic theft from the city's casino made matters worse.

The 38-year-old was on Tuesday sentenced to a two-year community corrections order for snatching $125,000 worth of gaming chips from Crown Casino in December.

Akay pleaded guilty to stealing 25 chips worth $5000 each from the casino's exclusive Maple Room and was captured on CCTV as he fled, using a taxi.

County Court Judge Claire Quin said Akay had been under significant financial pressure in the lead-up to the unsophisticated crime.

"You grabbed and ran with the chips, rushing through the casino and other areas," she told Akay.

During the getaway he lost all but three of the chips, and was so overcome with guilt and panic that he threw the remainder in the Yarra River.

Akay was then a gold signature Crown Rewards member and had spent more than six hours at the casino using his partner's money before the theft.

A bank had earlier foreclosed on his properties and Akay was trying to win more money after being served an eviction notice.

Judge Quin said Akay had shown remorse and responsibility for his actions and had good rehabilitation prospects.

"This offending involved a significant amount of funds. It was, however, a single instance," she said.

Akay will be required to perform 150 hours of supervised work as part of the corrections order.

The court was told previously that Akay grew up poor in a small Indonesian village before arriving in Australia in 1997.

He lost his job as an Uber driver after the theft and said he had not gambled since.

Victorian InterChurch Gambling Taskforce chairman Mark Zirnsak said Crown had an obligation to "know who their customers are and where their money's coming from".

"You actually have a responsibility to that individual to ensure they can afford what they're losing," Dr Zirnsak told AAP.

Crown Casino did not respond to questions about its policies for detecting and assisting problem gamblers.