Wednesday 25. May, 2016

Changes to NSW Casino Laws May Lead to Reduced Regulation

Changes in NSW casino regulation laws have led to concern that the Star Casino will be a target for organised crime. Due to the changes, 19 of the 20 specialist government inspectors based in Star Casino in Sydney have taken voluntary redundancy and left their positions.

According to the former chair of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, Chris Sidoti, who left his position in February, these changes increase the risk of organised crime at the casino. Specialist inspectors have now become part of a larger pool of general inspectors who carry out spot checks.

In Sidoti’s view, “it’s unreasonable to expect that an inspector watching minors drinking in the local pub is also going to have the expertise to identify organised criminal activity in the casino.”

The Public Sector Association is also concerned with the changes with general secretary, Anne Gardiner saying: “What you can do in spot checks is different to what you can do when you’re based there 24-hours a day and you’re seeing the intricacies of these very technical games being played by people who may potentially look to laundering money, may look to avoiding taxation.”

Experts in the industry have also raised concerns over what this means for James Packer’s planned high roller casino in Barangaroo and believe the changes will leave Sydney open to money laundering from Asia.

However, a spokesperson for Liquor and Gaming NSW said that it is no longer considered best practice to have in-house gaming inspectors and that NSW is the second last state to abandon the practice.

“The new model recognises that remote electronic surveillance currently features heavily in casino compliance in NSW and will into the future, when it is planned for Sydney to have a restricted gaming facility at Barangaroo in addition to the Star,” he added.

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