NSW passes Casino Legislation Amendment Bill

The Bill enacts reforms to the NSW casino regulatory framework.
The Bill enacts reforms to the NSW casino regulatory framework.

New South Wales has created a new regulator that will oversee the state’s two land-based casino operators, Crown Resorts and The Star Entertainment Group.

Australia.- The parliament of New South Wales has approved the Casino Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. The bill implements recommendations made by former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin in her report following New South Wales’ inquiry into Crown Resorts’ suitability to hold its licence for its new Sydney casino.

The new legislation establishes the New South Wales Independent Casino Commission (NICC) as a an independent casino regulator. It also eliminates compensation triggers for casino operators in relation to regulatory action taken by parliament, the government or the regulator.

According to authorities, amendments to the bill also want to ensure that each casino operator prevents money laundering and terrorism financing activities within the operations of the casino. 

The law requires that casino operators ensure gaming machines and certain gaming-related signs are not visible outside the boundary of the casino. It also prohibits a casino operator from accepting more than AU$1,000 cash per day from a customer for wagering purposes.

It also specifies the period for which closed-circuit television footage recorded for conducting monitoring and surveillance of operations in the casino must be kept.

Kevin Anderson, state minister for hospitality and racing, said: “This marks a new era in the way casinos in NSW are allowed to operate, with new comprehensive measures targeting key issues such as money laundering and other criminal activity.

“This essential reset will give the people of NSW confidence that the State’s casino operators will be held to the highest possible standards.”

Anderson said the NICC will formally commence operations on September 5. Its first major task will be to consider the findings of the review into The Star casino, with Adam Bell SC due to submit his report by the end of the month.

In addition, the regulator will oversee Crown Sydney’s conditional opening of its gaming areas on behalf of the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority.

Following the announcement of the new gambling law, The Star Entertainment Group issued a statement saying it is currently “considering the final version of the bill (including amendments made to the original version tabled) and the potential implications for its Sydney operations.”

In July, the government of New South Wales announced a plan to introduce cashless gaming machines. Wests Group’s Newcastle club will be the first venue to test the new cashless technology for three months. The trial will begin with 38 slot machines from Aristocrat Leisure.

One of the main objectives of the government is to reduce problem gambling and limit the opportunities for criminals to launder funds.

The cashless technology will be linked to the player’s identity and bank account. It also involves a Bluetooth connection between the player’s phone and the machine, allowing funds to be transferred directly from the phone to the machine.

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