Asia round-up: Reforms in New South Wales and Crown Sydney re-approved

By Louis Thompsett

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. 

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. 

Crown Sydney granted approval to commence gaming operations 

“Today is an important day for Crown, our customers and our people, who have been eagerly awaiting this announcement for some time and cannot wait to share the full Crown Sydney experience with the world” Steve McCann, Crown Resorts CEO and Managing Director

Crown Resorts says the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) has provided approval for Crown Sydney to commence gaming operations. 

The approval allows the operator to open its members-only gaming facilities at Crown Sydney, with an initial conditional gaming period scheduled to expire on 31 December 2023. 

During this period, the operator will work closely with ILGA and its independent monitor Kroll Associates, to demonstrate its suitability and that it is implementing an agreed remediation plan. 

Crown noted that the approval follows an extensive period of consultation with ILGA, along with other state-based and federal regulators and authorities, during which the operator has been implementing wide-ranging reforms to its business as part of its remediation plan. 

“Today is an important day for Crown, our customers and our people, who have been eagerly awaiting this announcement for some time and cannot wait to share the full Crown Sydney experience with the world,” said Crown CEO and Managing Director Steve McCann. 

Macau Covid infections rise to 71 as new tests due 

The number of Covid-19 infections in Macau has risen to 71 after the city conducted a new round of testing.  

Two of those newly infected are casino dealers and 47 of those infected are believed to be displaying symptoms. 

Furthermore, a table game manager, an office worker and a cleaner are among the positive cases coming out of casinos. 

Macau Health Bureau official Leong lek Hou says the cases collectively involve Venetian Macau, Galaxy Macau casino resorts in Cotai and Fortuna casino.  

Following this string of new positive cases, Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre has declared a fresh round of testing will take place from 9am local time on Thursday 23 June, running until 11:59pm on 24 June. 

Macau authorities say three clusters of Covid cases have been identified in different sectors of the city, and the region will continue to function in a state of immediate prevention.

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