New South Wales to begin directing A$100m Star fine to combating harms

Star Entertainment Group

The New South Wales government has outlined the initial stages of a $100m gambling harm minimisation investment, which stems from a fine imposed on Star Entertainment Group over one year ago.

In a move that aligns with GambleAware Week, which comes to an end on Sunday 22 October, this funding is said to represent the “next important step” in an ongoing “long-term commitment”.

It is hoped that this outlay will help to further tackle money laundering, implement gaming reform and reduce the harmful impacts of gambling across communities.

During September 2022, Star was deemed unsuitable to hold its casino licence within New South Wales after Adam Bell delivered a damning report following an extensive inquiry into the company.

Subsequently, a A$100 fine and various remediation orders were imposed on the group. This was followed some time later by similar action within the operator’s home state of Queensland.

As a result of this, the state government is redirecting this sum of money to fund various gambling harm minimisation initiatives during the course of the next five years.

This will initially see A$6.4m enhance self-exclusion and introduce third-party exclusions in pubs and clubs, in addition to A$3.4m going to a recently established panel to drive a cashless gaming trial. 

A A$10m figure will be attributed to the provision of GambleAware counselling and support services, while $21.7m for three years from 2024/25 is intended to fund other gambling harm minimisation initiatives and reforms, including those recommended by the independent panel.

“We know there are people out there experiencing gambling harm in our community, and we are concerned [about] the impact this has on individuals, their families and the broader community,” commented David Harris, Minister for Gaming and Racing.

“We are committed to increasing awareness of the risks of gambling, in all forms, and I can assure people there is a lot of help and support out there in NSW communities, that is freely available and accessible.

“This GambleAware Week we encourage everyone to talk with friends, family or colleagues if you are  worried about what gambling could be costing them.

“Our first budget delivers $100m in harm minimisation initiatives, including funding for the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling to provide support to people affected by gambling harm through these GambleAware services as well as working to prevent harm before it occurs by investing in education and awareness raising.”

The theme for this year’s GambleAware Week, which started yesterday (Monday 16 October), is ‘what’s gambling costing you?’ This is intended to encourage people to think beyond the monetary costs of gambling.

“Everyone has a role to play in keeping our community safe,” Harris added. “We encourage everyone to take part in GambleAware Week and show our combined commitment to preventing gambling harm.

“One of our key election commitments was to ban external gambling signage from venues, as we know that can be triggering for gamblers, and that ban is in place as of September 1 this year, with 99 per cent of venues compliant. It shows that when government, industry and community work together we can get positive results.”