Western Australian government to maintain control over GWC appointments

Crown Perth was found unfit to hold a gaming licence.
Crown Perth was found unfit to hold a gaming licence.

Western Australia’s gaming minister has defended not setting up a group to advise on who oversees Crown Perth.

Australia.- The Western Australian government has delivered its response to the Royal Commission report on Crown Resorts casino in Perth. It’s agreed in full with 49 of the inquiry’s 59 recommendations, but one recommendation has received its approval. 

A year ago, the Western Australia Royal Commission concluded that Crown Perth was unfit to have a gaming licence in WA due to regulatory failures. It found that the operator had allowed money laundering to continue despite concerns about junket operators with links to criminals. 

Of the 59 recommendations made, the government has agreed in full with 49 and supported eight in principle. However, it disagreed with the suggestion to form a “nominations committee” to oversee appointments to the Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC).

The GWC consists of eight members and is led by Lanie Chopping, the director-general of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. They’re appointed by the racing and gaming minister, a position that Reece Whitby assumed in a cabinet reshuffle in December.

Whitby said: “Under the act, it’s my responsibility to make those appointments, so I think that is the right way to proceed. He said ensuring the right people on the board was “key,” and that the current membership was “absolutely spot on.”

Asked if changes to the system would be considered, Whitby said there is a good system that looks at skills and abilities. He also said that the minister of the day would have the advantage of a skills matrix that the GWC will prepare to evaluate new members.

According to ABC, Whitby said: “While work still needs to be done to embed these improvements and ensure effective risk mitigations, the government strongly supports the cultural and structural change required to ensure stability and accountability.

“I want to assure you the government is committed to restoring the community’s confidence and the state’s only casino is managed in a responsible way and provides a safe, well-regulated environment for patrons and the 5,000 people who work there.”

He added: “A lot has changed in terms of technology and electronic gaming, but I think expectations have increased also, and a lot has been revealed by the royal commissions both here and in other states. Everyone with a smartphone now has a gaming machine in their pocket, potentially, and that’s an approach that we’ll look at and work with the federal government.”

He noted that the state’s ban on slot machines will be maintained, saying: “There is no way, at all, this government will ever allow poker machines in Western Australia.”

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