A new casino regulator to be established in New South Wales will have the power to fine operators up to AU$100 million (US$69 million) and to hold individual board members and executives liable for serious wrongdoing, the state government has announced.
A list of enhanced powers to be provided to the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC), which will replace the current NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), will be introduced to parliament next week and largely mirrors similar reforms recent introduced in Victoria.
Among the reforms will be a daily limit of $1,000 (US$690) on cash transactions as casinos move towards mandatory cashless gaming, mandatory carded play to assist with financial crime monitoring, increased scrutiny of substantial shareholders and close associates and continuous access to gaming data by regulators.
Another major change will be how regular reviews into casino licences will be conducted in future, with the government planning for them to become public inquiries with Royal Commission-like powers.
Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said reforms will deliver on all 19 recommendations of the Bergin Inquiry into Crown Resorts while also adopting some recommendations from the subsequent Victorian Royal Commission into Crown’s Melbourne casino.
“The new regulator will be truly independent and will be directly funded by the Casino Supervisory Levy paid by both casinos, with independent decision-making on licensing and disciplinary matters,” said Anderson, pointing to the state’s two casinos in The Star Sydney and Crown Sydney.
“With all penalties under the Casino Control Act to be increased at least tenfold and a new maximum fine of AU$100 million for disciplinary action, the NICC will have scope to deal appropriately with serious misconduct of the type uncovered by various recent inquiries.”
The NICC is also set to takeover monitoring of Crown Sydney’s operations after it was recently granted a provisional license by ILGA, with the casino at Crown Sydney opening next week.
“Crown has implemented a considerable reform agenda with wholesale staff and system changes under the oversight of ILGA and its independent monitor,” Anderson said.
“The conditional gaming period will enable the NICC to closely monitor Crown’s operations and ensure that the reform agenda is completed to the regulator’s satisfaction.”