August 15, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Following Victoria’s parliamentary bill of potential new laws governing Crown Casino’s activity in Melbourne, introduced to state law makers earlier this month, New South Wales is also looking to tighten oversight of the two casinos in its state, with the introduction of a new body specifically to monitor gambling operations at Crown and The Star.

The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) will be formed after a bill focussed on the amendment of casino regulations passed NSW parliament late last week.

According to the NSW Government, the new watchdog “will have unprecedented powers to monitor casino activities, and take strong disciplinary action against operators and individuals who engage in misconduct”.

“This marks a new era in the way casinos in NSW are allowed to operate, with new comprehensive measures targeting key issues such as money laundering and other criminal activity,” said NSW minister for hospitality and racing, Kevin Anderson.

“The NICC will formally commence operations on 5 September and its first major task will be to consider the findings of the review into The Star casino, with Adam Bell SC due to hand down his report by the end of the month.

“The regulator will also take over the work of the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) in overseeing Crown Sydney’s conditional opening of its gaming areas.”

Following a more than 18-month delay in Crown Sydney being granted a licence to open its gaming operations after the Bergin Inquiry found Crown unsuitable to hold a gaming licence based on its operations in other states, The Star Sydney has also recently faced the scrutiny of ILGA NSW, via Bell’s review of its operations, which led to the organisation admitting that while it had not been suitable to hold a gaming licence, it believed it was “presently suitable to hold the casino licence”.

Crown and The Star will fund the NICC’s oversight of their operations.

As part of the amendments to NSW casino legislation, the state government has also raised the potential financial penalty for casino wrongdoing one hundred fold, from $1 million to $100 million.

In NSW, Crown and The Star Entertainment Group have considerable business events offerings as part of their businesses, in the form of event space and luxury accommodation. In Queensland, The Star also has a major – and growing – footprint of high end accommodation and event space on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane, where it is set to begin opening the multi-billion-dollar Queen’s Wharf development from next year.