NSW Government Appointed Independent Casino Commission Members

The New South Wales (NSW) government announced in a public release on Tuesday it has appointed five new members to the State’s Independent Casino Commission ahead of the body’s commencement next week.

Chief Commissioner and Members

The Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson chose the current chairperson of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) Philip Crawford as Chief Commissioner of the NSW Independent Commission (NICC).

Anderson pointed to Crawford’s “comprehensive understanding of regulatory issues facing modern casinos and the need to fundamentally reset the way they operate” as the key to determining his appointment to lead the new gambling regulatory body.

“Under his leadership, NSW casinos will be monitored in line with the new laws and face strong disciplinary action for compliance failures, past and present,” Anderson said, adding that four other members of ILGA, Janine Rolfe, Murray Smith, Craig Sahlin, and Stephen Parbery, will also make the transition to the NICC, to help Crawford with their “experience in regulation and other regulated industries.”

Anderson added that Crawford in his new role would continue to support ILGA as an ordinary board member while working full-time as Chief Commissioner at the new regulatory body that is expected to formally commence operations on September 5.

NICC’s Tasks and Powers

The creation of the NSW Independent Casino Commission was initially signaled by the Minister in June this year as part of the state’s efforts to introduce reforms in the casino sector.

Created under the Casino Control Act 1992, the NICC is an independent statutory body and will be tasked with decision-making around licensing and disciplinary matters, armed with “enhanced and wide-ranging compliance and enforcement powers.”

Earlier in August, the NICC has been given the power to impose much larger sanctions, up to AU$100 million (US$69 million), on casinos found in breach of their license obligations as part of the statewide gambling reforms that sought to address the recommendations of the inquiry into Crown Resorts.

According to Anderson, the new body’s “most pressing task” would be to consider the findings of the independent inquiry into The Star operations led by Adam Bell SC, as well as to continue the “supervision and ongoing suitability assessment” of the other casino operator that was recently found in breach of its casino license obligations, Crown Resorts and its NSW property Crown Sidney.

The Minister also added that active collaboration between the NICC with ILGA and Hospitality & Racing will be key to guiding statewide regulatory efforts of both gambling regulators, while working with NSW Police and NSW Crime Commission as part of a multi-agency coordination committee will help “identify potential law enforcement collaborations” in other areas, including money laundering.

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