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Australia – ILGA to investigate The Star’s handling of junkets and AML measures

By - 15 September 2021

The New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has appointed Adam Bell SC to undertake a review of The Star casino’s operations with particular scrutiny to be placed on how the casino handled its junket operations and what anti-money laundering measures it had in place.

ILGA chair Philip Crawford said the review will consider how effectively The Star is complying with its statutory obligations and whether it remains suitable to hold a casino licence.

“Regular reviews of casinos in NSW are required under the Casino Control Act and the last review of The Star was conducted in 2016 by Jonathan Horton QC,” Mr Crawford said. “These reviews are carried out with the co-operation of the casino operator to ensure the casino remains free from criminal influence or exploitation and doesn’t cause harm to the public interest.

“Mr Bell was the lead senior counsel assisting the Bergin Inquiry into Crown Resorts’ Barangaroo casino and, as such, has extensive knowledge of casino regulatory matters in NSW including the issues of concern identified in the Bergin Report. This experience provides Mr Bell with a deep understanding of the current casino landscape which will be invaluable for this role. He is expected to hand down his findings to ILGA by 31 March 2022.”

The NSW Government continues to work on the suite of legislative reforms recommended in the Bergin Inquiry Report on the regulation of casinos in NSW and the suitability of Crown Resorts to hold a restricted gaming facility licence.

It agreed to support all 19 recommendations from the Bergin Inquiry Report on the regulation of casinos in NSW and the suitability of Crown Resorts to hold a restricted gaming facility licence.

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said the NSW Government would establish an independent casino regulator and move to introduce the suite of legislative reforms recommended by Commissioner Bergin.

“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,” Mr Dominello said. “It is critical 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,” Mr Dominello said.

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.

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