Ex-Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon Not Royalty at Crown

August 7th, 2014 | by Brian Corlisse
Former Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon

Was Paul Lennon left red-faced after a Crown Casino poker incident, or just from too much liquor? (Image: themercury.com.au)

Former Premier of Tasmania Paul Lennon was recently ejected from Melbourne’s Crown Casino after allegedly licking his finger during a game of poker. The bizarre incident took place at the end of July, and hit the headlines after eyewitnesses told reporters that the ex-political figure became abusive towards a female player during a Texas Hold’em session of poker at Crown.

Finger Licking (Not So) Good

Lennon refutes the accusations and claims that he was asked to leave the casino for unknown reasons. Explaining the incident to the press, the 58-year-old said that the only reason he believes he was asked to leave the property was for licking his finger.

“At one instance I licked my index finger before touching my dealt cards, as you sometimes do. Apparently this is against the rules,” said Lennon in a public statement.

The Tasmanian went on to say that when he asked why he was being escorted from the property, security guards were unwilling to divulge the reason.

Lennon Levied with a Fine

Aside from having to endure the unwanted attention that comes with being asked to leave a game of poker in one of Australia’s top casinos, Lennon was also slapped with an AUD$738 fine. The infringement notice was handed to the ex-Premier because he was uncooperative and failed to leave the casino when asked. A brief scuffle broke out, which resulted in approximately three to six security guards binding Lennon’s hands and carrying him out of the door.

Referencing the fine, Lennon explained that he was the one that called the police in order to ensure “things were done properly.” He added that he’d not been drinking at any point during his poker session.

Since the incident, Lennon has kept a low profile and refused to discuss the matter any further.

Paul Lennon: The Tasmanian Devil

Despite once holding the highest seat in Tasmanian politics, Paul Lennon is no stranger to controversy. In addition to a receiving an AUD$100,000 home renovation from a company he helped to secure a billion-dollar contract, Lennon also received some negative press after Crown Resorts gave him a free stay in one its six-star suites.

At the same time that Lennon was being given VIP treatment, Betfair Australia, a company which Crown Resorts has a 50 percent stake in, was pushing for a betting license in Tasmania. The license was subsequently granted, but soon after Lennon resigned from his role as Tasmanian premier.

During Lennon’s time in power, allegations of corruption, including the two mentioned above, marred his career and caused a dramatic decline in the opinion polls for the Australian Labor party.


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