The New South Wales government will support all 19 recommendations from the Bergin inquiry report on the regulation of casinos in the state, as well as the suitability of Crown Resorts to hold a restricted gaming facility licence.
This includes the establishment of an Independent Casino Commission, an independent, dedicated, stand-alone, specialist casino regulator with the necessary framework to meet the extant and emerging risks for gaming and casinos, in addition to a series of legislative reforms.
“The NSW government response to the Bergin inquiry will see a redesigned regulatory structure for casinos in NSW, with a clearer focus on addressing money laundering risks inherently associated with casino activities,” explained Victor Dominello, minister for digital and customer service.
“It is critical [that] the management and operation of casinos in NSW are free from criminal influence and exploitation.
“Committing to implement the 19 recommendations from Justice Bergin’s report is an important first step in the process of reforming the casino sector.
“The new casino regulator will be subject to detailed design work and will be funded via the casino supervisory levy.
“In addition, we will continue to monitor the current casino Royal Commissions in Victoria and Western Australia and consider any proposals for regulatory reform recommended by those inquiries, including stronger gambling harm minimisation measures.”
This comes after Crown Resorts was deemed unsuitable to operate the $2.2bn Crown Sydney Hotel Resort after an inquiry, led by former Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin, cited poor corporate governance, deficient risk-management structures and processes, and a poor corporate culture.
Alongside an overhaul of the company’s board, it was recommended that the Casino Control Act be amended to prohibit casino operators in New South Wales from dealing with junket operators
Furthermore, among the numerous recommendations detailed in the report is that a person may not acquire, hold or transfer an interest of 10 per cent or more in a licensee of a casino in New South Wales or any holding company of a licensee without the prior approval of the ICC.
The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority continues to assess the suitability of Crown to hold a NSW restricted gaming facility licence, and is responsible for determining the circumstances in which the Crown Sydney’s gaming facility is permitted to open.