NSW Gaming Regulator under Fire for Lack of Effectiveness in Its Work

The Star Entertainment has been under a lot of scrutiny recently and now, the NSW gaming regulator is in the criticism surrounding the operator. Inquiries have found out that the regulator has only fined The Star a couple of times and the total cost of these fines was not bigger than $200,000 since 2016.

Just 3 Out of 16 Disciplinary Actions Were Taken

The Australian Financial Review analysis revealed that since 2016, there were a total of 16 disciplinary actions handed to The Star from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), all of which were connected to the casino license. However, only 3 of them were put into effect and just one resulted in a fine.

Two of these disciplinary actions resulted in “letters of censure.” Such was the case with the most recent development tied to The Star when the operator’s casino special employee license was terminated but did not inform the watchdog.

Regulators haven’t been quite effective in their job recently, which is why experts have slammed them. Andrew Wilkie, an independent federal MP, stated that states are not capable of regulating the industry effectively by themselves, which is why he called for a national oversight body.

Peter Cohen, a former commissioner for Gambling and Liquor Regulation in Victoria, previously called for split oversight into gambling and liquor.

A New Regulator Is Likely to Be Formed

A spokesman for ILGA talked to the Financial Review and stated that a new regulator is in the process of being created and this new regulator will be able to deal with all emerging threats in the casino industry more effectively, especially “those involving money laundering and other financial crimes” that are entangled with casino activities.

He added that the Bergin inquiry revealed that there’s a need “for more robust oversight” of the operations of casinos and that is exactly what the Bergin reforms will offer.

The inquiries into The Star’s action are proof of the lack of work by the watchdogs, experts believe. Ten of the 17 actions stemmed from the operator’s self-reporting. Four were related to breaches of alcohol service laws and others involved minors entering the premises.

In total, The Star was fined $199,800 in 2016 and $90,000 of those came from a single 2020 fine when 3 minors were spotted in the casino. ILGA’s spokesman stated that even though the self-reporting regime was “backed by investigation,” the need for a hard line is still present.

Currently, The Star is also involved in the controversial China UnionPay scheme by Crown in which the maximum fine could cost AU$100 million ($74.33 million). In the wake of all of The Star’s problems, its CEO decided to hand over his resignation, effective immediately.

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