Queensland announces tougher gambling laws and higher penalties

Casino operators could face penalties of up to AU$50m in the case of misconduct.
Casino operators could face penalties of up to AU$50m in the case of misconduct.

Authorities have announced amendments to gambling laws in order to introduce more gambling harm minimisation measures and tighter controls for casino operators.

Australia.- The State of Queensland has announced the introduction of legislative reforms to the Queensland casino regulatory framework. The Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 proposes tougher gambling laws, higher penalties and more gambling harm minimisation measures.

Attorney-general and minister for justice Shannon Fentiman said: “These reforms seek to address concerns which have emerged from the public inquiries into casinos operated by Crown Resorts in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, as well as investigations underway into the Star Entertainment Group.

“As a result of the changes, there will be significant pecuniary penalties as a disciplinary action of up to AU$50m. These reforms are considered to be examples of best practice casino regulation and will be in place before the opening of the new casino at Queen’s Wharf to be operated by The Star.”

Further legislative changes may be considered following the completion of the ongoing investigation into The Star Entertainment Group.

See also: Former Star chairman admits hiring unqualified executives

The attorney general said the bill would also include changes that would help deliver on the government’s commitment to transition to safe cashless gaming. He also said the bill would modernise Queensland’s gambling legislation, allowing new payment methods and systems to be considered as long as they were safe and secure.

Shortly after the announcement of the bill, The Star Entertainment Group issued a press release saying that it is reviewing the bill and the potential implications for its Queensland operations, noting that it remains subject to the usual consultation and parliamentary processes.

Authorities in Queensland reject curbs on casino hours

As previously reported by Focus Gaming News, the Queensland government has rejected proposed restrictions on casino hours, arguing that the venues are monitored and have higher security than other venues. 

The government also rejected recommendations that there be a public assessment of the Queens Wharf casino’s impact on alcohol-related violence and that all safe night zones be closed by 3.30am.

Authorities argued that “the removal of 24-hour trading hours would be inconsistent with the government’s plans for creating a ‘new world city’ for Brisbane, the intent of the development of Queen’s Wharf Brisbane.”

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The Star Entertainment Group