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Review recommends scrapping Australian casino licensing investigation

By Robert Simmons
A review board in New South Wales has recommended that a mandatory investigation into the activities of the state’s casino licensees be scrapped, according to reports in the local press.

The review was commissioned following government approval of Crown Resorts proposal to build a A$2bn integrated resort in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct. It calls for the traditional style of investigations into casino activities to be scrapped and replaced with a more modern approach.

Under existing regulations, casinos operating in the state are investigated every five years to determine if the casino operator is meeting industry regulations and whether the operation of its casino is still in the best interests of the residents of New South Wales.

The state commission review questioned the effectiveness of these investigations, stating that the current Liquor & Gaming NSW regulatory regime was taking too long to act on any alleged wrongdoing uncovered as a result of its enquiries.

Regulators are considering changing the current law after a final probe into the licensed activities of The Star Entertainment’s Sydney casino resort and the Crown Resort project after construction is completed in 2021.

It additionally recommended that the Star Casino in Sydney be allowed to extend its credit to International VIP players in the future, mirroring the current licence provision given to Crown’s Sydney project.

State officials have decided not to adopt recommendations to abolish casino staff licences as well as proposals to allow casinos to manage their own services for customers with problem gambling behaviour and prohibiting casinos from allowing knowingly intoxicated customers to gamble on their casino floors.

These recommendations were dismissed by the New South Wales government who stated that they felt the current regulations protected gamblers sufficiently and that no further change was required for the time being.

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