New casino regulator sets its sights on star response
The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) has officially begun a new regulatory regime to oversee the state’s two Sydney-based casinos.
The NICC inherits the task of responding to Adam Bell’s findings into criminal activity at The Star and the ongoing work of assessing Crown Sydney’s suitability for a permanent casino licence.
NICC Chief Commissioner, Philip Crawford, said he and the NICC’s four commissioners are examining the Bell report which will soon be made publicly available.
“We were handed a very large document last week and we need to consider its contents in light of the new, retrospective, casino laws,” Mr Crawford said.
“The NICC was created with extensive regulatory powers, independent of government, and we will be considering the findings and recommendations in the context of how those powers apply.
“Through its historical casino reforms, the NSW Government has set its expectations around casino compliance and the NICC is equipped to meet them.
“In addition to a board of five commissioners, the NICC has 10 staff dedicated solely to casino related matters and more than 100 staff in the Hospitality and Racing division available to be deployed to casino compliance activities.
“There is simply no appetite for further misconduct, and along with increased resources, we are supervising both casinos with the help of independent monitors, Kroll and Wexted Advisors, who are keeping a close eye on the internal operations of the Crown and The Star respectively.
“I am confident that not only will the new laws enable the NICC to proactively identify and address any issues that require attention, but they also provide appropriate avenues to develop a response to the Bell report.”
The reforms that created the NICC delivered on the Government’s commitment to support all 19 recommendations of the Bergin Inquiry, which found Crown unsuitable to hold the licence for its Barangaroo casino due to serious misconduct at its Melbourne and Perth casinos.
Additional reforms included measures from the Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Resorts to further increase NSW casino compliance requirements.
Reforms reflecting the Crown Sydney Bergin Inquiry recommendations include:
- Creation of the NICC.
- A ban on NSW casinos dealing with junket operators.
- A requirement for casinos to monitor patrons’ accounts and perform heightened customer due diligence.
- A requirement for casinos to engage an appropriately qualified compliance auditor to report annually on the casino’s compliance with its obligations under all relevant statutes.
- Reforms to strengthen close associate provisions.
Key reforms adopted from the Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Resorts include:
- Periodic reviews of casino licences conducted as public inquiries with Royal Commission-like powers to boost transparency around casino operations.
- Casino operators can be compelled to provide full and frank disclosure of requested information and notify the NICC of any breach or likely breach of the law.
- Independent compliance auditors appointed by the NICC to report on casino operators’ compliance with their regulatory obligations.
- Cash transactions over $1,000 phased out as cashless gaming is introduced at both casinos.
- Transition to mandatory carded play with requirements for gamblers to use cards to track their play, assisting with financial crime monitoring and responsible gambling.
- A new requirement for applicants who want to become close associates of a casino operator to demonstrate they are suitable to be associated with a casino.
- Increased regulatory reach by ensuring that the NICC can regulate the conduct of close associates of the casino operator, including taking disciplinary action against them where necessary.
- Casinos required to give regulators continuous and remote access to gaming data, as pubs and clubs have done for many years.