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Australia – New South Wales making progress in forming independent casino regulator

By - 13 January 2022

The Bergin Inquiry’s key recommendation for a standalone casino regulator in New South Wales is well on its way to becoming a reality, with temporary arrangements put in place to support the new structure. 

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has announced practical interim arrangements ahead of legislative changes to establish the independent casino regulator. 

In August 2021 the Government 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 licence. 

Work then started to redesign the regulatory structure of NSW casinos, with a view to introducing legislative changes to parliament in mid-2022. 

ILGA Chairperson Philip Crawford said until legislative change is finalised, the interim arrangements will enhance the management of existing and emerging risks in the current casino regulatory environment, particularly the risks of money laundering and other financial crimes associated with casino activities. 

“We need improved capacity now and that’s what these interim arrangements will provide for,” Mr Crawford said. 

It is expected the arrangements will start in February 2022 and includef  unctional separation of casino regulation from liquor and gaming regulation within the current casino regulator, ILGA, including some ILGA members dedicated to the consideration and determination of casino matters.

Changing the appointment of the current ILGA chairperson Philip Crawford from part-time to full-time will enable a stronger leadership focus and commitment to casino regulation with the added appointment of a new ILGA board member with anti-money laundering expertise.

Additional resources will be made available to relevant teams within the Department of Customer Service to better support ILGA’s exercise of its legislative functions and powers.

A new Memorandum of Understanding will be developed between the Department of Customer Service and AUSTRAC to strengthen collaboration and information sharing between the agencies. 

The arrangements reinforce the ILGA’s strong commitment to ensuring casino operations in NSW are free from criminal influence, and the potential risks of harm associated with casino activities are adequately monitored and contained.  “ILGA will use the new arrangements to further enhance its ability to identify and address organised crime in casinos and to expand its cooperation with the ACIC, AUSTRAC and the NSW Police Force,” Mr Crawford said.

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