NSW Government to establish new casino regulator amid sweeping reforms

NSW Minister for Hospitality and Racing, Kevin Anderson, has announced the introduction of “tough new measures” for the casino industry, and will establish a new independent casino regulator.

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The reforms come after the Bergin Inquiry found that Melbourne-based Crown Resorts ignored warnings of money laundering and links to organised crime.

As a result of the inquiry, the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) made 19 recommendations to casino operators in an effort to improve transparency and accountability.

To directly address these recommendations, the NSW Government is set to introduce a range of regulatory reforms. These will include a ban on casinos dealing with junket operators, and independent monitoring and auditing for every casino licence holder appointed under the new regulator.

Additionally, casino licence holders will be obligated to report suspicious activity and will have to perform due diligence on customers, identifying the sources of players' funds before they can gamble.

These new regulations will be enforced by the newly established NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC), which will have “enhanced and wide-ranging compliance and enforcement powers.”

The NICC will be led by a Chief Commissioner and will be supported by at least four additional Commissioners, at least one of which will have expert anti-money laundering experience.

The NICC’s efforts will be monitored by a new multi-agency coordination committee, collaborating with the police and Crime Commission to identify money laundering cases.

Anderson said: “These reforms will ensure the people of NSW have confidence that casino operations are free from criminal influence.

"We are rebuilding the regulatory framework for casinos in NSW from the ground up, with stringent new controls to prevent money laundering and other criminal activity. Anything less than 100% compliance will not be tolerated.”

The announcement comes soon after Crown Resorts was granted approval by the ILGA to commence gaming operations at Crown Sydney.

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