New South Wales pushes for new regulations

The government ordered a review in order to modernise New South Wales’ current casino regulations.

Australia.- New South Wales government commissioned a review that recommended that the mandatory probe that casino licensees must go through in order to review the activities should be abolished. The change would overturn the investigations conducted once every five years.

The review was conducted after James Packer’s Crown Resorts was granted a Sydney casino license at Barangaroo from 2019 in order to ensure regulatory neutrality with The Star Entertainment, the company that manages the only operational casino in Sydney, The Star Sydney. One of the recommendations is the scraping of the mandatory five-yearly Section 31 investigations, which is carried away on behalf the independent gambling regulator, the local news outlet Daily Advertiser reported.

These investigations usually ask if the owner is still a suitable person to operate the gambling facility and if the casino license is in the public interest. Allegations of money laundering have surged after past reviews, but last year The Agenda Group said that it is doubtful whether the scheme of mandatory reviews provides any particular value to the state. “If any issues of concern were to be found by reviews conducted under section 31 it should have been expected that the authority would have already identified such concerns and acted on them immediately rather than waiting for the mandatory review,” said the report.

“Consequently, it is not conceivable that a situation might ever arise where the casino operator could be found not to be ‘a suitable person to continue to give effect to the casino licence’ as a result of a review under section 31 of the Act,” continued the paper.

Yesterday, the NSW government proposed a law change in order to allow for one further section 31 review of The Star, and to undertake one initial review of Crown Sydney after a reasonable period of operation. “Consideration will then be given to the potential abolition of the review provision, an extension of the five-year time frame, or other amendments to its operation, as appropriate.”

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